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PSC 231: Week 1

by: Serenity Lopez

PSC 231: Week 1 PSC 231

Serenity Lopez

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These notes go over the ideas from the assigned reading, developing answers, and different theories
Intro to Int'l Relations
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Serenity Lopez on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 231 at University of Nevada - Las Vegas taught by in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views.


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Date Created: 08/31/16
Intro to International Relations   ● What is international relations?  ○ Study of the various actors that participate in international politics including, state,  international organizations, nongovernmental, subnational entities  ○ Study of the behaviors of these actors as they participate in the political process  Developing the Answers: History  ● w/o any historical background, many of today’s key issues are incomprehensible  ● History is used to test generalizations   ○ History may be a poor guide for predicting modern policy choices   Developing the answers: Philosophy   ● Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Kant, Rousseau  ● What is human nature? Is it good or bad?   ○ Relation to international relations: develop a connection with one another   Developing Answers: The Scientific method   ● Using tools of the scientific method to describe and explain human behavior   ● Hope to predict human behavior   The Evolution of Social sciences:   ● Movement towards making social sciences more “scientific”   ● Political science has embraced methods used in economics   ● Thematic topics instead of area studies   *role of political scientist is more than giving opinions     Definition of Science:  ● Simplest def.: attempt to identify and test empirical generalizations   ● Non Empirical question:   ○ Ex. why are democrats better?  ○ Can’t be tested  Scientific Method:  ● Can’t assume our experiences are an accurate rep. Of the real world  ● No generalizations in social sciences   ● Randomized or controlled experiments are difficult due to external factors   ○ impossible/unethical  ● Prediction is social sciences is difficult but that’s the goal   The Importance of Theory:   ● Correlation does not mean causation   ● Spurious correlations   ○ Correlation between two variables that does not result from any direct correlation   Normal V. Empirical Questions:  ● Normative (moral questions):   ○ What should be the role of the state?   ○ What ought to be the norms in international society?  ● Empirical:   ○ Under what condition are NGO’s able to influence state’s interest?  ○ Are democracies less likely to fight wars than autocracies?  7 Major Goals of Social Research ( Ragin 1994):  1. Identifying general patterns and relations  2. Testing refining theory  3. Making predictions   4. Interpreting significance   5. Exploring diversity   6. Giving voice   7. Advancing new theories   Deterrence Policy:   ● Entirely theoretical   ● Trying to think what would happen   Democratic peace theory:   ● Based on ideas of Immanuel Kant   ● “Absence of war between democratic states comes as close as anything we have to an  empirical law in international relations”  Pros and cons of Behavioralism:   ● Becoming more scientific (Pro)  ● More data mining (con)  ● Difficult for general public to understand (con)  4 Prominent Theories   ● Realism:   ○ States exist in anarchic international system  ○ State bases policy on own national interest defined in terms of power   ● Liberalism/ neoliberal institutionalism  ○ Human nature is basically good  ○ States generally cooperate and follow mutually agreed upon terms   ● Radical:   ○ State is agent of international capitalism   ○ Dominate international relations   ● Constructivism   ○ Interest of states and other actors are malleable and ever changing  


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