'이론'에 해당되는 글 4건

  1. 2014.09.22 [IR-Theories-요약] (SCRAP) Stephen M. Walt (1990) The Origins of Alliances - by Branislav L. Slantchev
  2. 2014.07.25 [IR-Power and Classical Realism]
  3. 2014.07.15 [IR-Theories Evidences Inferences] Kuhn, Thomas (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  4. 2014.07.10 [IRTheories-Level of Analysis] Wolfers, Arnold (1962) Discord and Collaboration

[IR-Theories-요약] (SCRAP) Stephen M. Walt (1990) The Origins of Alliances - by Branislav L. Slantchev

[연구] Research 2014. 9. 22. 11:21

스크램: http://www.gotterdammerung.org/books/reviews/o/origins-of-alliances.html

The Origins of Alliances

Stephen M. Walt

Cornell University Press, 1990; Pages: 321

Review © 2001 Branislav L. Slantchev

Develops the balance of threat theory which, unlike traditional balance of power, claims that states do not balance against power, but against threats due to geographical proximity, power, and intentions of others. Finds balancing behavior explains best pattern of alliances in post-WWII Middle East; bandwagonning rare, ideology can have a divisive impact, and foreign aid or penetration do not have independent effect.


  1. Alliance - formal or informal arrangement for security cooperation between two or more states (p.12). General conclusions: (i) states balance against threats rather than against power alone; (ii) ideology is less powerful than balancing as motive for alignment; (iii) neither foreign aid nor political penetration is by itself a powerful cause of alignment (p.5).
  2. Alliance Formation:
    1. Response to threats: states may either balance (ally with others against the prevailing threat), or bandwagon (ally with the source of danger). Sources of threat are: (i) aggregate power; (ii) geographic proximity; (iii) offensive capability; (iv) aggressive intentions (p.25). Although balancing is far more common, bandwagonning tends to occur when (i) the state is weak and cannot add to a defensive coalition but can still incur the wrath of the threatening state; (ii) no allies are available - excessive confidence in allied support will encourage buck-passing; (iii) the outcome of war appears certain - balancing is usual in peacetime (to deter the aggressor) or early stages of war (to defeat him), (p.32).
    2. Ideology: the more similar the states are, the more they are likely to ally. When ideology calls for members to form a centralized movement, ideology will have a divisive role (p.35). Unifying ideologies that do not prescribe transnational unity under a single leader (liberal states, monarchies) do not pose an ideological threat to one another (p.36). Security considerations are likely to take precedence and ideologically based alliances are not likely to survive when pragmatic interests intrude (p.38).
    3. Foreign aid: provision of military or economic assistance can create allies because it communicates favorable intentions, evokes gratitude, and the recipient becomes dependent on the donor (p.41). Foreign aid gives suppliers effective leverage when (i) they enjoy a monopoly supply of an important asset; (ii) they are asymmetrically dependent vis-a-vis the recipient; (iii) they have asymmetrical motivation; (iv) they have a decision-making autonomy that can manipulate the level of assistance (p.44).
    4. Transnational penetration: manipulation of one state's domestic political system by another through (i) public officials with divided loyalties, (ii) lobbying, and (iii) propaganda. Penetration is more effective against open societies, when objectives are limited, and the means are not intrusive (p.49).

History of Middle East Diplomacy (1955-1979)

  1. From Baghdad Pact to the Six Day War - dominated by three main themes: (i) repeated failure of Nasser to translate his own charisma and Egypt's regional stature to permanent hegemony in the Arab world; (ii) steady growth of superpower commitments in the Middle East; (iii) persistence of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the inability of the Arab states to form an alliance against Israel (p.51).

    Security environment product of four developments: (i) decline of the British and French imperial orders, (ii) revival of Arab nationalism and aspirations for unity, (iii) establishment of Israel, and (iv) active role of the superpowers (p.52). Phases:

    1. Baghdad Pact (1955) to Suez Crisis and Sinai War (1956): Iraq's bid for leadership (the Pact) thwarted by Nasser; Western influence reduced; Egypt and Syria break Western monopoly on aid by opening ties with Soviet Union; Israel's victory in the Sinai neutralized; Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen in formal alignment with Egypt.

      Reasons for Nasser's success: (a) superpower competition that allowed freedom of action for Egypt; (b) Syria and Saudi Arabia fears of the Pact and unpopularity of Western influence brought them into an all-Arab alliance with Egypt; (c) Nasser exploited nationalist beliefs to intimidate the vulnerable Jordan into accepting his leadership (p.66).

      Consequences: Nasser's dominant position quickly erodes because his initial success removed several of his advantages: (a) support from the Soviets increased US interest in containing him; (b) his dominance made him the greater threat than Iraq to his neighbors (p.67).

    2. King's Alliance to the Syrian Crisis (1957): the Eisenhower Doctrine (p.67) encourages Saudi Arabia and Jordan to break the alliance with Egypt and form a counter-alliance between themselves and Iraq; Egypt's bid for dominance in the Arab world thwarted; US pressure on Iraq, Turkey, and Jordan to mobilize against Syria (believed to be ``going Communist'') brings in the Soviets and Egypt, which increases Nasser's popularity (p.70).
    3. United Arab Republic (1958-1961): union between Egypt and Syria, later joined by Yemen; Jordan and Iraq form a counter Federal Union; Lebanese crisis results in US marines intervention; Egypt-Iraqi rivalry presents dilemma for USSR, which opts for Iraq after its revolution; Iraq pulls away from USSR, also, Quassem's emphasis on national interests dissipates momentum to Arab unity; military coup in Damascus destroys UAR and restores Syrian independence (p.79).
    4. Yemen Civil War (1962) to the Cairo Summit (1964): Nasser's policy now premised on ideological considerations, attacks on conservative Arab regimes; Egyptian propaganda against secessionist Syrian regime, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq results in Egypt's isolation by 1962; Nasser moves to support republican government in Yemen against royalists to bolster revolutionary goals; Quassem executed in Iraq in 1963; pro-Egyptian coup in Syria; Iraq, Egypt, and Syria form a stillborn Tripartite Unity Agreement, which collapses after Syrian president forced from office and Nasser cancels it; Syria and Iraq draw together, prompting Nasser to initiate a detente with Jordan; unity movement between Syria and Iraq collapses due to Aref abandoning Ba'thist supporters; Cairo summit as response to Israeli water project establishes PLO; Egypt and Iraq adopt less aggressive posture, Syria embarks on ideological extreme (p.87).
    5. End of Inter-Arab Detente (1965) to the Six Day War (1967): efforts to settle Yemeni war fail; Saudis convene Islamic conference against Egypt; coup in Syria demolishes the old Ba'th Party, proclaims radical socialist platform; Egypt renews propaganda war against Jordan and Saudi Arabia, aligns with Syria, forced to adopt its extreme revolutionary views; Middle East effectively divided between the superpowers: (a) USSR with Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen; (b) US with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Lebanon (p.98).

      Arab coalition between Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq (with token participation by other Arab states and diplomatic support from USSR) prompts Israeli attack on June 5, which routs the Arab armies in six days; no direct action by the superpowers except Soviet threat to intervene when Israeli forces threatened Damascus, and US response in moving Sixth Fleet closer to Syria to deter the Soviets; UN cease-fire negotiated, USSR breaks diplomatic relations with Israel; Egypt, Syria, and Iraq break with the US (p.102).

  2. From the Six Day War to the Camp David Accords - dominated by two main themes: (i) gradual rise and dramatic decline in Arab collaboration against Israel, both the result of Egypt's abandoning its quest for hegemony; and (ii) the increasingly active role played by the superpowers, especially the US (p.105). Phases:
    1. The War of Attrition (1969)to the Jordan Crisis (1970): the crushing defeat Egypt and Syria have suffered force them to rely even more heavily on Soviet support; US reacts to Israel success by providing even greater assistance; US relations with Egypt, Syria, and Iraq worse than ever; war between Egypt and Israel begins in October 1968 at Nasser's own initiative, heavy Israeli initial losses lead both USSR and Egypt to hard-line stance; failure of USSR to control Nasser and US to influence Israel; cooperation in Arab world culminates in Eastern Command of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, which dissolves in 1970 amidst Iraqi-Syrian animosity; buck-passing among all Arab states to Egypt; Nasser accepts the Rogers ceasefire in 1970 (p.112). Jordan Crisis begins with crackdown on PLO in Jordan; Israel supports Hussein; Syrian invasion repelled by Jordan on its own (p.114);
    2. Yom Kippur War (1973) can be traced to three main developments: (i) failure to reach political solution to the Arab-Israeli dispute; (ii) ability of Egypt and Israel to obtain increased military support from their superpower patrons; and (iii) formation of first effective anti-Israeli Arab alliance.

      Relations between Arabs and Israelis unable to break diplomatic stalemate; Sadat breaks with USSR despite strong military assistance but relations restored by 1973; Moscow hedges its bets with Syria, Iraq, and South Yemen; US increases assistance to Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia; with Nasser's death, Egyptian bid for dominance is over and the way for cooperation cleared; Arab alliance forms in 1973, with Egypt and Syria choosing limited aims, Jordan agreeing to enter when Syria regains the Golan Heights, and Saudi Arabia hinting at using the oil weapon if necessary (p.122).

      First phase of war (October 6-10) with Arab tactical and strategic advantage and initial victories; next phase (11-18) with increased superpower involvement to resupply their respective allies; Israel gains the upper hand; the third phase (19-27) with superpowers succeeding in imposing a ceasefire on their clients; even though Egypt and Syria suffer a military defeat, they gain a political victory and break the stalemate (p.124).

    3. US ascendancy in the Middle East (1974-1979): Egypt gradually abandons USSR, concludes separate peace with Israel; significant growth of US military relations with Israel, and its traditional Arab allies; USSR forced to commit increasing resources to keeping its allies like Syria, South Yemen, and, to a lesser extent, Iraq; civil war in Lebanon with Syrian intervention to assist the government; the creation of the Arab Deterrence Force by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria implicitly endorses this action and realigns the countries by end of 1976; Sadat's peace drive culminates in Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979 (result of previous year's Camp David Accords); in response, Syria, Libya, South Yemen, Algeria, and the PLO establish the Front of Steadfastness and Resistance in 1977, which is joined by Jordan and Saudi Arabia next year after the peace treaty is signed; Egypt suspended from the Arab League; Iraq now among the moderates; renewed commitment of US to its regional allies; increasing difficulties for the USSR; role of ideology declines significantly, pan-Arabism wanes, and inter-Arab politics driven more by material interests (p.146).


  1. Balancing and bandwagonning: (i) external threats are the most frequent cause of alliances; (ii) balancing is far more common than bandwagonning; (iii) superpowers chose partners to balance against each other, and regional powers are indifferent to the global balance but ally in response to threats from other regional powers; (iv) offensive capabilities and intentions increase the likelihood of others joining forces in opposition (p.148). Bandwagonning is more likely when the state is small or does not have useful allies, the decision is based on hope that the threatening power will moderate its aggressive intentions (p.176).
  2. Ideology: (i) modest association between ideology and alignment, more pronounced between the superpowers and their regional allies, especially in the case of USSR; (ii) observed association exaggerates its impact, ideological agreement between superpowers and regional allies is fairly limited; (iii) certain ideologies a more a source of division than unity (i.e. pan-Arabism vs. monarchical solidarity), (p.181). In general, Arab ideological consistency is readily abandoned when threats to other interests emerge. However, USSR consistently aligned with ``progressive'' states which shared its opposition to Western imperialism, while the US supported the monarchies and democracies (p.183). The tendency of states with similar domestic systems to form alliances is greatest when they are fairly secure, when the ideology does not require that sovereignty be sacrificed, and when a rival movement creates a powerful threat to legitimacy (p.216).
  3. Foreign aid: efforts to attract allies in the absence of compatible political goals fails; client states serve the patron's interests only when the actions serve their own interests as well. Leverage of patron is reduced because (i) alternative sources always exist, especially in the other superpower; (ii) regional allies viewed as intrinsically valuable in their own right; (iii) providing aid can be self-defeating because in strengthens the recipient and reduces his need to follow advice; (iv) recipients are almost always more interested in the issue and they bargain harder; and (v) domestic constraints prevent the patron from manipulating the level of support (p.240).
  4. Penetration: (i) efforts to manipulate a state's domestic political system are more likely to generate resistance when they threaten a prospective ally's internal stability; (ii) most of superpower's effort to exploit domestic political forces have been counterproductive; (iii) the influence of pro-Israeli forces on US policy-making is significant because (a) the Jewish community is cohesive, prosperous, and well-educated, (b) its activities are viewed as legitimate interest groups politics, and (c) their objectives are limited and easy to justify in terms of US interests (p.259). Penetration can create effective alliances when it reinforces an existing alignment and does not threaten the political system itself (p.260).


Balance of threat theory provides an excellent explanation for the balance of power in the bipolar world. The Soviets are doomed because their geographical size makes them potentially able to control the vast Eurasian resources. This puts them in direct opposition with all their neighboring countries, which regard this as very threatening. On the other hand, the US is separated by two oceans and has had very tolerant relations with its two neighbors. In addition, the military doctrine of the offensive necessitated by the possibility of fighting on more than one front forces the USSR to acquire weaponry that makes it even more threatening. Finally, the Marxist-Leninist support for world revolution makes its intentions more aggressive, which further alienates potential allies. The intra-Communist disputes due to contradictions within the ideology itself weakens the ``bloc'' even further. US should not worry too much about its allies defecting. Being slightly less credible may even be better as it give allies more incentives not to free-ride on US efforts. Because the US does not appear threatening, most countries are predisposed to align with it (p.284).

Trackbacks 0 : Comments 0

Write a comment

[IR-Power and Classical Realism]

[연구] Research 2014. 7. 25. 19:12

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Mearsheimer, John J. 지음
W W Norton & Co Inc | 2003-01-01 출간
A decade after the end of the Cold ...
가격비교 글쓴이 평점  

Overview (Mearsheimer)

Offensive Realism - Great Powers Behavior – Perpetual Rivalry

Ø  Main Cause: International System (Anarchy)  (d. Hobbesian, Morgenthau’s classical realism)

Ø  Goal: Survival

Ø  Best Strategy: Maximization of Power at the expense of other rivals (vs. Waltz’s defensive, structural realism)

Ø  Result: Zero-sum perpetual competition, offensive great powers


Mearsheimer’s pessimistic outlook on peace = firm neorealist outlook (Structural theory of international politics)

ð  State actors (Rational) – Structure (Anarchy) – Competition(Zero-Sum) – Maximization of power - Survival

“Hopes for peace will probably not be realized, because the great powers that shape the international system fear each other and compete for power as a result. Indeed, their ultimate aim is to gain a position of dominant power over others, because having dominant power is the best means to ensure one’s own survival (p. xi, Preface)”

Chapter I. Introduction

1.      Firm pessimism on the idea of “perpetual peace(p. 1)” among the great powers

-          Although without outright war, conflicts, competitions persist (e.g. US army bases around the globe, Germany, Japan, China-US on Taiwan) (p. 2)

2.      Great Power Behaviors:

-          Overriding goal = Power Maximization: “maximize its share of world power (p.2)” (power maximization)

-          Perpetual Competition: “rarely content with the current distribution of power”; “almost always have revisionist intentions”; “the desire for more power does not go away, unless a state achieves the ultimate goal of hegemony”; and since “no state is likely to achieve global hegemony, however, the world is condemned to perpetual great-power competition” (p.2)

-          Offensive: “Simply put, great powers are primed for offense(p.3)”

3.      “Why do great powers behave this way” (His Main Question) = “the structure of the international system forces states which seek only to be secure nonetheless to act aggressively toward each other” (His Main Answer – via Structure) (p. 3) = anarchic structure

-          Critical comparison point to classical realism (human nature – Hobbes)

-          3 features of international system pinpointed – anarchy – fear - uncertainty:

1)      “absence of a central authority” above all states (p.3)

2)      “states always have some offensive military capability” (p.3)

3)      Uncertainty: “states can never be certain about other states’ intentions” (p.3)


4.      Offensive Realism (His Theory):

-          Main Task:

1)      Explaining the Great powers behaviors

2)      Explaining the history of politics: To address 8 “historical puzzles(p. 6)

Ø  What accounts for the three longest and bloodiest wars in modern history? The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, WWI, WWII

Ø  What accounts for the long periods of relative peace in Europe (1816-1852, 1871-1913, and esp. 1945-1990, during the Cold War)

Ø  Why did UK not build a powerful military and try to dominate Europe in the mid-19th

Ø  Why was Bismarckian Germany (1862-90) especially aggressive between 1862-1870, but hardly aggressive at all from 1871 until 1890

Ø  Why did the UK, France, Russia form a balancing coalition against Wilhelmine Germany before World War I, but fail to organize an effective alliance to contain Nazi Germany?

Ø  Why did Japan and the states of Western Europe join forces with US against the Soviet Union in the early years of Cold War, even though the US emerged from WWII with the most powerful economy in the world and a nuclear monopoly?

Ø  What explains the commitment of American troops to Europe and Northeast Asia during the 20th century? E.g.Why did the US wait until April 1917 to join WWI?

Ø  Why did the US and the Soviet Union continue building up their nuclear arsenals after each had acquired a secure second-strike capability against the other?

3) Make predictions about great-power politics in the 21st


5.      Liberalism vs. Realism (pp. 14 – 22) => His Theory


*Morgenthau’s classical realism (human nature)[1] and Waltz’s defensive realism (system, structure) – structural realism (mere aim is to survive, attention on the balance of power – “anarchy encourages states to behave defensively and to maintain rather than upset the balance of power(Mearsheimer, p. 20)” )[2] = human nature for competition vs. structure that drives the competition


6.      Important distinction between his theory of offensive realism:

-          Difference between Mearsheimer (offensive) and Waltz’s defensive/structural realism:

On the question of how much power states want: there are “powerful incentives for states to look for opportunities to gain power at the expense of rivals, and to take advantage of those situations when the benefits outweigh the costs. A state’s ultimate goal is to be the hegemon in the system”

-          Difference between Mearsheimer and Morgenthau:

Competition-prone but not due to personalities/nature, but caused by the structure, which makes competition the best way for survival– “survival mandates aggressive behavior (p. 21)”

-          In between Morgenthau and Waltz.


Virtues and limits of his theory: 

-          abstraction (“broad-gauged” but “a powerful flashlight in a dark room” (p. 11) => supplementary theories, employ “more fine-grained theories such as deterrence theory” (p. 11)

-          descriptive and prescriptive


7.      Plan of the book = 6 questions on power

1)      Why do great powers want power?

2)      How much power do they want/ is enough? (= structure)

3)      What is power? (indicators?)

4)      What strategies do states pursue to gain power or to maintain status-quo (balancing and buck-passing)

5)      What are the causes of war?

6)      When do threatened great powers balance against and when do they do buckpassing?


Chapter 2. Anarchy and the Struggle for Power


His answer to why great powers vie each other = structure that makes it the best way of survival


1.      Bedrock Assumptions (Five):

1)      “anarchy” (international system) – “an ordering principle” not chaos (p. 30)

2)      Great powers’ “inherent offensive military capability”(p. 30)

3)      Uncertainty about other states’ intentions” (p. 31).

4)      “survival” as the primary goal (p. 31)

5)      States as “rational actors” (p. 31)


2.      State Behavior (pp. 32-36)

Anarchy – Uncertainty – Survival – Self-help – Self-interest – absolute vs relative power


3.      Calculated Aggression

4.      Hegemony’s Limits (pp. 40-42) (hegemonic world limited in reality => perpetual competition is inevitable)

5.      Power and Fear

6.      Hierarchy of State Goals

7.      Cooperation among states


“In sum, my argument is that the structure of the international system, not the particular characteristics of individual great powers, causes them to think and act offensively and to seek hegemony. I do not adopt Morgenthau’s claim that states invariably behave aggressively because they have a will to power hardwired to them. Instead, I assume that the principal motive behind great-power behavior is survival. In anarchy, however, the desire to survive encourages states to behave aggressively. Nor does my theory classify states as more or less aggressive on the basis of their economic political systems. Offensive realism makes only a handful of assumptions about great powers, and these assumptions apply equally to all great powers. Except for differences in how much power each state controls, the theory treats all states alike.” (pp. 53-54).

-Rationality - Are we, are they so rational

-Competition(Zero-Sum)? Material capability based on what.

[1] Politics Among Nations (1973)

[2] Theory of International Politics 

George Orwell (1936) “Shooting an Elephant,” New Writing (Autumn).

Short Essay

-          Setting in Moulmein, Burma (Myanmar) in the 1920s when the country was a province of India (British empire)

-          Main character: Young Englishman police officer in Burma


Plot overview

-          Police officer of the British empire (Englishman) acknowledges and is troubled by the unjust practices of occupation in Burma

-          Yet, the Burmese always make mockery of him (offensive)

-          Then one day, a wild elephant roams around a village, killing one man.

-          The officer with rifle is called for by the Burmese, who expect him to shoot the elephant (high expectations, roars in the crowd)

-          But he knows that his small rifle is very weak for confronting the elephant (calculated aggression)

-          Fortunately, when the officer arrives at the scene, the wild elephant has already calmed down. And to his better judgment, the elephant should be kept on hold rather than shooting it (cost). Also, he knows that the rifle is not strong enough in case the elephant becomes violent again.

-          Despite his better judgment, the officer shoots the elephant to kill. Several shots (Gruesome imagery here)


Overall, three conflicts:

-          Unjust practices of occupation in Burma (external structure/conflict)

-          Burmese disregard/mockery on the main character (external structure/conflict)

-          Conflict within the character (self-image and conscience – internal conflict)


Good story to overview/question the key assumptions of realism, esp. Mearsheimer’s

-          Offensiveness is not the internal character but external structure imposed on the actor – system drives the offensiveness (Mearsheimer)

-          Calculated aggression

-          Yet, question on the rationality – despite calculated aggression, the main character shoot the elephant -> actors vie for the maximization of material capability or immaterial?

-          Rationality question -> internal question again? (something inherent in the actor that drives the offensiveness and competition?)


Trackbacks 0 : Comments 0

Write a comment

[IR-Theories Evidences Inferences] Kuhn, Thomas (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

[연구] Research 2014. 7. 15. 18:38

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Kuhn, Thomas S. 지음
University of Chicago Press | 2012-04-27 출간
A good book may have the power to c...
가격비교 글쓴이 평점  

 Kuhn, Thomas (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, The University of Chicago Press.

Overview (Kuhn)

Paradigm, a concept now so exhaustively used, is a key concept in understanding Kuhn’s illustration of scientific progress. A scientific revolution, extraordinary science occurs when the paradigm becomes fundamentally transformed and/or replaced by another. While the concept is not strict in definition, Kuhn uses the term to refer to a conceptual matrix of facts, theories, methods, and assumptions that provides a shared context and model for practitioners. 

According to Kuhn there are three different phases (although not linear) to scientific progress. First is what he terms “normal science,” a conceptual matrix(paradigm) of facts, theories, methods, and assumptions that have been already established. With the disciplinary framework, a shared foundational apparatus provided, practitioners have a context and model for puzzle-solving. And by using such shared apparatus, this puzzle-solving in normal science remains within the boundaries of existing paradigm, becoming largely about confirmation and/or precision of the existing paradigm.

A crisis occurs, however, when the normal science can no longer solve the puzzles and causes practitioners to question the applicability of the current science. Amongst many alternatives, a paradigm that seems to best solve the puzzle (not that it is a better representation of the reality) triumphs over the others until it replaces the former. Our preceding conceptual matrix is therefore fundamentally transformed and Kuhn calls this the extraordinary science or revolutionary science.


The pages of this book have made a profound change in my understanding and approach to the world… One question that still lingers is then who will be the creators/seers of the paradigm shift? How can one maintain his/her flexibility in thoughts? These are the questions that Kuhn leaves to intuition and somewhat arbitrariness: Kuhn states that scientists are often unaware of the specifics of the research paradigm and instead rely on an intuitive understanding much akin to that proposed by Wittgenstein. Also, Kuhn attempts to fill the question by referring to the role of new talents and youth: What Kuhn calls “the fundamental inventions of a new paradigm,” have been achieved either by “very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change.” In the footnote, Kuhn further notes that this generalization about the role of youth in fundamental scientific progress “is so common as to be a cliché” and that “a glance at almost any list of fundamental contributions to scientific theory will provide impressionistic confirmation.” 

So this great task is on us and our intuitions. Fingers crossed, stay free, open, creative, and courageous… 



Introductory Essay by Ian Hacking


I.                   Introduction: A Role for History

II.                The Route to Normal Science

III.             The Nature of Normal Science

IV.             IV. Normal Science as Puzzle-solving

V.                The Priority of Paradigms

VI.             Anomaly and the Emergence of Scientific Discoveries

VII.          Crisis and the Emergence of Scientific Theories

VIII.       The Responses to Crisis

IX.             The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions

X.                Revolutions as Changes of World View

XI.             The Invisibility of Revolutions

XII.          The Resolution of Revolutions

XIII.       Progress through Revolutions






Introductory Essay by Ian Hacking

-          Kuhn’s finding that there are “scientific revolutions but also that they have a structure” (p. x)

-          “The book ends with the disconcerting thought that progress in science is not a simple line leading to the truth. It is more progress away from less adequate conceptions of, and interactions with, the world.” (p. xi)

-          “Normal science and puzzle-solving” (p. xv)

-          “paradigm” (p. xvii)

-          “anomaly” (p. xxvi), “crisis” (p. xxvii)… etc


I.                   Introduction: A Role for History


Distinction between normal science (cumulative) and scientific revolutions (non-cumulative):

Overview of scientific progress in history: Normal science dominated – rare extraordinary sciences:

“Normal science, the activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all their time, is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like.” And the community of such normal science has the tendency to “defend” their assumptions and “suppresses fundamental novelties” that goes against their assumptions. (p. 5)


Yet again, extraordinary science is something inevitable, where normal science is limited in the ability to suppress the fundamental novelties for long… “extraordinary episodes… are the tradition-shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of normal science” (p. 6).


*Kuhn’s examples: Copernicus, Newton, Lavoisier, and Einstein (the big discoveries…)

*Characteristics of these extraordinary sciences – “the defining characteristics of scientific revolutions” (p. 6):

-          “Each of them necessitated the community’s rejection of one time-honored theory in favor of another incompatible with it”

-          “Each produced a consequent shift in the problems available for scientific scrutiny and in the standards by which the profession determined …as legitimate.”

-          “And each transformed the scientific imagination in ways that we shall ultimately need to describe as a transformation of the world within which scientific work was done.”

-          Additionally: the new revolution “requires the reconstruction of prior theory and the re-evaluation of prior fact, an intrinsically revolutionary process that is seldom completed by a single man and never overnight”



II.                The Route to Normal Science

Further note on normal science and scientific revolutions

Kuhn’s definition of normal science: “In this essay, ‘normal science’ means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.” (p. 10)

And the “past scientific achievements” are equivalent to Kuhn’s “extraordinary science” or scientific revolutions: e.g. “Aristotle’s Physica, Ptolemy’s Almagest, Newton’s Principia and Opticks, Franklin’s Electricity, Lavoisier’s Chemistry, and Lyell’s Geology” (p. 10)

-          Kuhn further points out here the “two essential characteristics”:

1)      “Their achievement was sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity.” (p. 10)

2)      “Simultaneously, it was sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve.” (p. 10-11)


Normal Science and Paradigms

As Kuhn himself clarifies, these past achievements are referred to as “paradigms” (“a term that relates closely to ‘normal science’) which he means to “suggest that some accepted examples of actual scientific practice… provide models from which spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research…” Paradigms are extensive conceptual mix that once one becomes a member of “the particular scientific community … he there joins men who learned the bases of their field from the same concrete models,” making “his subsequent practice… seldom evoke overt disagreement over the fundamentals. Men whose research is based on shared paradigms are committed to the same rules and standards for scientific practice. That commitment and the apparent consensus it produces are prerequisites for normal science… for the genesis and continuation of a particular research tradition.” (p.11)


Scientific Revolutions and Paradigms

“…transformations of the paradigms… are scientific revolutions, and the successive transition from one paradigm to another via revolution” (p. 12)


The route to normal science is therefore the replacement of normal science with another: shift in paradigms… And this appears in the following pattern from disseminated facts to conformity…:

“…During that period there were almost as many views about the nature of [X] as there were important [experimenters/thinkers], men like [A, B, C, D, E, F] and others. All their numerous concepts of [X] had something in common – they were partially derived from one or another version of the [x] that guided all scientific research of the day. In addition, all were components of real scientific theories, of theories that had been drawn in part from experiment and observation and that partially determined the choice and interpretation of additional problems undertaken in research. Yet though all the experiments were [in relation to x] and though most of the experimenters read each other’s works, their theories had no more than a family resemblance…

In the absence of a paradigm or some candidate for paradigm, all of the facts that could possibly pertain to the development of a given science are likely to seem equally relevant. As a result, early fact-gathering is a far more nearly random activity than the one that subsequent scientific development makes familiar. Furthermore, in the absence of a reason for seeking some particular form of more recondite information, early fact-gathering is usually restricted to the wealth of data that lie ready to hand. The resulting pool of facts contains those accessible to casual observation and experiment… [although] this sort of fact-collecting has been essential […] the casual fact-gatherer seldom possesses the time or the tools to be critical… Only very occasionally… do facts collected with so little guidance from pre-established theory speak with sufficient clarity to permit the emergence of a first paradigm.

No wonder, then, that in the early stages of the development of any science different men confronting the same range of phenomena, but not usually all the same particular phenomena, describe and interpret them in different ways. What is surprising, and perhaps also unique in its degree to the fields we call science, is that such initial divergences should ever largely disappear.” (pp. 14-17)


Overall, interesting logical outline of how we come to experience scientific revolutions on the basis of normal science (~ accepted and shared practices..)


Scientific revolution, extraordinary science as a strong “guide” to the whole community’s research.


III.             The Nature of Normal Science


More expansion on the nature of normal science...

Most importantly, I think, Kuhn makes here the distinction between the normal usage of the word ‘paradigm’ (normally used as “an accepted model or pattern” that permits “replication of examples”) and Kuhn’s use of the word paradigm in science: the distinction is that the paradigm in science is “rarely an object for replication” but more of a shared/accepted context that requires “further articulation and specification under new or more stringent conditions,” and this is what normal science is about – confirmation and precision of the given paradigm. (p. 23)


Normal science focuses on “three classes of problems” (p. 34):

1)      “determination of significant fact”

2)      “matching of facts with theory”

3)      And “articulation of theory”


Nevertheless Kuhn makes it clear here that normal science is of trivial value: Kuhn states that they “are also extraordinary problems” that are in many times required for extraordinary science – appearing after the “advance of normal research” (p. 34).


Point here is the almost inevitableness to depart from existing paradigms: “Inevitably… the overwhelming majority of the problems undertaken by even the very best scientists usually fall into one of the three categories outlined above. Work under the paradigm can be conducted in no other way, and to desert the paradigm is to cease practicing the science it defines…” (p. 34).


IV.             Normal Science as Puzzle-solving


Kuhn clearly concludes here that normal science can be characterized as “puzzle-solving: with the presence of strong commitment in shared context, the research becomes more or less puzzle-solving that are largely identifiable and solvable within the boundaries of the same paradigm:

“The existence of this strong network of commitments – conceptual, theoretical, instrumental and methodological – is a principal source of the metaphor that relates normal science to puzzle-solving. Because it provides rules that tell the practitioner of a mature specialty what both the world and his science are like, he can concentrate with assurance upon the esoteric problems that these rules and existing knowledge define for him. What then personally challenges him is how to bring the residual puzzle to solution.”  (p. 42)


V.                The Priority of Paradigms


Kuhn suggests here that there is a common understanding within the research community that forms the research paradigm. However he thinks that scientists are often unaware of the specifics of the research paradigm and instead rely on an intuitive understanding much akin to that proposed by Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein proposed that we know a game by its family of properties. Even if a game doesn’t have all of the properties we identify with a game, we will still be able to recognize it as such through these flexible recognition mechanisms.


Paradigms can be found as recurrent patterns (p. 43):

“Close historical investigation of a given specialty at a given time discloses a set of recurrent and quasi-standard illustrations of various theories in their conceptual, observational, and instrumental applications. These are the community’s paradigms, revealed in its textbooks, lectures, and laboratory exercises.”


Important distinction Kuhn points out here is that “shared paradigms” are not “shared rules.” (p. 43):

-          In absence of rules, paradigms can still guide research by becoming the shared context (p. 42)  – paradigm is a better and loose term, above rules, for such characteristic…

-          “paradigms could determine normal science without the intervention of discoverable rules” (p. 46).

-          “paradigms guide research by direct modelling as well as through abstracted rules. Normal science can proceed without rules only so long as the relevant scientific community accepts without question the particular problem-solutions already achieved.” (p. 48)


VI.             Anomaly and the Emergence of Scientific Discoveries


Important note: “Normal science, the puzzle-solving activity we have just examined, is a highly cumulative enterprise, eminently successful in its aim, the steady extension of the scope and precision of scientific knowledge… Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none…


Anomaly within normal science: “New and unsuspected phenomena are, however, repeatedly uncovered by scientific research, and radical new theories have again and again been invented by scientists… research under a paradigm must be a particularly effective way of inducing paradigm change. (p. 52)”


Emergence of anomaly and discoveries (process of “first paradigm” (p. 64) -> “precision-of-match”(p. 65) -> rigidity -> anomaly (against the background provided by the paradigm):

“In the development of any science, the first received paradigm is usually felt to account quite successfully for most of the observations and experiments easily accessible to that sciences’ practitioners. Further development, therefore, ordinarily calls for the construction of elaborate equipment, the development of an esoteric vocabulary and skills, and a refinement of concepts that increasingly lessens their resemblance to their usual common-sense prototypes… The science has become increasingly rigid…(p. 64) … Anomaly appears only against the background provided by the paradigm. The more precise and far-reaching that paradigm is, the more sensitive an indicator it provides of anomaly and hence of an occasion for paradigm change (p. 65)”


VII.          Crisis and the Emergence of Scientific Theories

Crisis as the “retooling”(p. 76) sign for normal science:

“Philosophers of science have repeatedly demonstrated that more than one theoretical construction can always be placed upon a given collection of data. History of science indicates that, particularly in the early developmental stages of a new paradigm, it is not even very difficult to invent such alternates. But that invention of alternates is just what scientists seldom undertake except during the pre-paradigm stage of their science’s development and at very special occasion during its subsequent evolution. So long as the tools a paradigm supplies continue to prove capable of solving the problems it defines, science moves fastest and penetrates most deeply through confident employment of those tools. The reason is clear. As in manufacture so in science – retooling is an extravagance to be reserved for the occasion that demands it. The significance of crises is the indication that they provide that an occasion for retooling has arrived (p. 76)”


VIII.       The Responses to Crisis

In face of crises, diverse responses, ultimately current paradigm called into question:

“…its different appearance results simply from the new fixation point of scientific scrutiny. An even more important source of change is the divergent nature of the numerous partial solutions that concerted attention to the problem has made available… [and in the end though] there still is a paradigm, few practitioners prove to be entirely agreed about what it is. Even formerly standard solutions of solved problems are called in question. (p. 83)”


But overall, crises are dealt mostly in one of three ways/responses:

1)      Crisis is handled

2)      Resistance to radical approaches

3)      Emergence of new candidate for paradigm


Crisis loosens the paradigm (note the use of the word “paradigm shift”): that all crises involve the blurring of paradigms:

“…crisis simultaneously loosens the stereotypes and provides the incremental data necessary for a fundamental paradigm shift. Sometimes the shape of the new paradigm is foreshadowed in the structure that extraordinary research has given to the anomaly (p. 89)”


Paradigm shift: “What the nature of that final stage is – how an individual invents (or finds he has invented) a new way of giving order to data now all assembled” (p. 90)


Important Note: He makes an interesting point here that in criticizing one theory the scientist must propose an alternative otherwise this is not the pursuit of science


IX.             The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions


Scientific revolutions: “non-cumulative developmental episodes in which an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible new one.” (p. 92)


*Parallelism to political development/revolution justified as (but with caution):

- political organizations and scientific communities groups arise with significantly different values from the mainstream:

“In much the same way, scientific revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense, again often restricted to a narrow subdivision of the scientific community, that an existing paradigm has ceased to function adequately in the exploration of an aspect of nature to which that paradigm itself had previously led the way. In both political and scientific development the sense of malfunction that can lead to crisis is prerequisite to revolution.” (pp.92-93)


X.                Revolutions as Changes of World View


“What were ducks in the scientist’s world before the revolution are rabbits afterwards” (pp. 111-112) although with some limits (p. 129):

-          “After a scientific revolution many old measurements and manipulations become irrelevant and are replaced by other instead. One does not apply all the same tests to oxygen as to dephlogisticated air. But changes of this sort are never total. Whatever he may then see, the scientist after a revolution is still looking at the same world. Furthermore, though he may previously have employed them differently, much of his language and most of his laboratory instruments are still the same as they were before. As a result, postrevolutionary science invariably includes many of the same manipulations, performed with the same instruments and described in the same terms, as its prerevolutionary predecessor… (p. 129)”

 Scientist must learn to see a new Gestalt.


XI.             The Invisibility of Revolutions

“Both scientists and laymen take much of their image of creative scientific activity from an authoritative source that systematically disguises – partly for important functional reasons – the existence and significance of scientific revolutions (p. 135)”

Revolutions are invisible because of “historical revisionism in science textbooks” – that the textbooks are written after the revolutions…


XII.          The Resolution of Revolutions

Those involved in scientific revolutions have characteristics which are different from those of scientists involved in ‘normal science’ Thus he suggests that such scientists are usually new to the field and for various reasons are not under an obligation to operate within the boundaries of the paradigm but instead are able to challenge the paradigm shift.


Models of theory validation:

-          Categorical model of theories: theory expected to account for all of the data (but unrealistic)

-          Probabilistic model (more likely): theory accounts for most of the findings

-          Contrasting: identification of evidence for the theory and falsification (Karl Popper)


XIII.       Progress through Revolutions

Here Kuhn questions what it is that makes a science.

He suggests that a strong sense of identity within a scientific discipline occurs when there is agreement within the community on past and present accomplishments.

Kuhn also suggests that although science progresses it does not necessarily progress towards any specific goal. He also reiterates the effectiveness of scientific revolutions followed by periods of normal science in developing a body of scientific knowledge. However he leaves the reader to answer the question ‘what must the world be like for us to know it?’



Written 7 years after the publication

Addresses many of the criticisms

Clarification on his definition of paradigms

*Revolution as a special renegotiation of relationships within a community

*Crises can be generated by groups other than those that experience them ~ i.e. disciplinary matrix where there is symbolic representation, shared belief and values of the scientific community.

Trackbacks 0 : Comments 0

Write a comment

[IRTheories-Level of Analysis] Wolfers, Arnold (1962) Discord and Collaboration

[연구] Research 2014. 7. 10. 17:51

Overview (Wolfers)

The title itself, Discord and Collaboration, is a notable implication to Wolfers’ approach to international relations: Composed of two antonyms – discord and collaboration – the title implies Wolfer’s approach to both “ends” of a spectrum in understanding the behaviors of states (actors) in international relations. This “two-ends” approach is prominent throughout Wolfers’ chapters, where Wolfers illustrates the pros and cons of each contrasting(in a sense that A’s main assumptions differ/negate B’s: e.g. realist vs. idealist) theories and concepts in international relations. In Chapter 1, Wolfers provides critique on both the structural and individual/decision-making approach in international relations – the two main strands in the level of analysis debate in international relations; Chapter 2, the concepts of both “amity” and “enmity” are debated; Chapter 3 discusses the spectrum of both the internal and external forces in foreign policy; Chapter 4, terms like “perfectionist moralist” and “nonperfectionist moralist” in the discussion of “statesmanship and moral choice”; Chapter 5, “possession goals(national interest)” versus “milieu goals”(environment, “shaping conditions beyond their national boundaries”), “direct national goals” versus “indirect national goals” and so forth. With such critique on the “both ends,” Wolfers recognizes the danger of polarization and absolutism in IR: Single theory cannot be the answer to all; by critiquing the both ends of every spectrum, Wolfers argues for flexibility in our frame of thoughts, away from resting on one idea/theory to explain the rest.

One possible critique on Wolfers’ work may be this duality in approach itself, where the discussion of the both ends makes his perspective less evident. Nonetheless, a careful reading of his lines do illustrate Wolfers’ view that the world affairs have the tendency to slant towards quests for power – within the realist-idealist continuum, Wolfers’ view lies more close to the former. And this is more clearly marked again by his title, where “Discord” precedes “Collaboration.” 

Point on the Level of Analysis in IR (Chapter I)

- State Level Analysis or Further Down...(Individuals and Corporate Bodies)...?

In respect to the level of analysis debate, Wolfers provides a chronological overview of the debate in the first chapter: Departing from the “traditional approach” – “state-as-the-sole-actors” approach (especially after the Napoleonic Wars, discovery of nation-states, and the era of European “great powers”), Wolfers points out two newly emerged approaches in the field. First is the approach that emphasizes “human individuals” (which is soon followed by the decision-making approach) – the “humanizing” process of international politics, also called as “minds-of-men approach”, and second is the emphasis on international organizations (corporate bodies). Now the state is no longer a single actor/entity, but a collection of different individuals or corporate bodies: state is no longer a blackbox and thus its behaviors can be interpreted from forces “emanating simultaneously from individuals and corporate bodies.”

Wolfers' Take: State Level Analysis supplemented by the new approaches

(pg. 24)

“While it would be dangerous for theorists to divert their primary attention from the nation-state and multi-state systems which continue to occupy most of the stage of contemporary world politics, theory remains inadequate if it is unable to include such phenomena as overlapping authorities, split loyalties, and divided sovereignty, which were pre-eminent characteristics of medieval actors.”

ð  Traditional approach and the new approaches “must supplement each other” to draw the “realistic” realities in contemporary international politics.

*Note on Wolfers’ Interesting and Important Metaphors to explain which level of analysis is appropriate at different situations:


1) House on fire (pg 13):

“Imagine a number of individuals, varying widely in their predispositions, who find themselves inside a house on fire. It would be perfectly realistic to expect that these individuals, with rare exceptions, would feel compelled to run toward the exits. General fears of losing the cherished possession of life, coupled with the start external threat to life, would produce the same reaction, whatever the psychological peculiarities of the actors. Surely, therefore, for an explanation of the rush for the exits, there is no need to analyze the individual decisions that produced it. The situation would be different if one or several members of the group had not joined the stampede, but had remained unmoved after the fire was discovered or had even failed to perceive it. Such “deviationist behavior”, running counter to expectation would justify and require intensive psychological inquiry.


2) Overheated house (pg. 13-14):

“A different situation would arise if, instead of being on fire, the house in question merely were overheated. In such a case, the second prerequisite of compulsion – serious external danger – would be absent. The reactions of different inhabitants might range all the way from hurried window-opening and loud complaints to complete indifference. To formulate expectations concerning behavior in an overheated house one would need intimate knowledge of the varying individual predispositions and of the symptoms by which they could be recognized. Here then, the decision-making approach would become necessary to supplement vague generalizations about reactions to discomfort that might be deduced from human nature in general, and such supplementation would become the more necessary the less overheated the house.”


Trackbacks 2 : Comments 0

Write a comment