A Model Discipline: Political Science and the Logic of Representations

Paperback | March 8, 2012

byKevin A. Clarke, David M. Primo

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In A Model Discipline, Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo turn a critical eye to the methodological approach that dominates modern political science. Clarke and Primo contend that the field's emphasis on model testing has led to a distortion of both the modeling process and the art of dataanalysis and cannot be logically justified. The authors argue that models should be seen as "objects" and thus regarded as neither true nor false. Models should instead be evaluated for their usefulness for a particular purpose. Divided into two parts, the book first establishes that current practice is not philosophy-free and rests on a number of questionable assumptions. The second part focuses on the different ways that theoretical and statistical models can be useful, and closes with a defensible justification forintegrating theoretical and statistical models. A novel work of methodology, A Model Discipline offers a new perspective on long-held assumptions about the way research in the social sciences should be conducted.

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In A Model Discipline, Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo turn a critical eye to the methodological approach that dominates modern political science. Clarke and Primo contend that the field's emphasis on model testing has led to a distortion of both the modeling process and the art of dataanalysis and cannot be logically justified. Th...

Kevin A. Clarke, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester, received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on political methodology and model discrimination tests. Clarke's articles have appeared in American Political Science Review, American Journal of Pol...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:March 8, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019538220X

ISBN - 13:9780195382204

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Table of Contents

Preface1. A Model Discipline1.1 The Model in Political Science1.2 Metaphors and Analogies, Fables and Fictions1.3 The broad themes of the book1.3.1 Science is not what we think it is1.3.2 Current practice is not "philosophy-free"1.3.3 Models are objects1.3.4 Models are not tested with data1.3.5 Explanation1.4 Plan of the Book1.5 What this Book is Not2. The Science in Political Science2.1 Introduction2.2 What Political Scientists Say They Are Doing2.3 Hypothetico-Deductivism2.4 Problems with H-D2.4.1 Deductions are Truth-Preserving2.4.2 Data Can't Speak for Themselves2.4.3 Other Problems with H-D2.5 How We Got Here2.5.1 Logical Positivism2.5.2 Pathologies of Rational Choice2.5.3 Methods and Models2.5.4 The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models2.6 Conclusion3. What is a Model?3.1 Introduction3.2 Models as Maps3.3 A Few Examples3.4 The Received View of Scientific Theories3.5 The Semantic Conception of Scientific Theories3.6 The Model-Based View of Scientific Theories3.7 Models and Theories3.8 Conclusion4. Theoretical Models4.1 Introduction4.2 Aspects of Theoretical Models4.3 The Purposes of Models4.3.1 Foundational Models4.3.2 Organizational Models4.3.3 Exploratory Models4.3.4 Predictive Models4.4 Judging a Theoretical Model4.4.1 Prediction is the Wrong Standard (Usually)4.4.2 The Illusion of Precise Standards4.4.3 Dimensions of Usefulness4.5 Conclusion5. Empirical Models5.1 Introduction5.2 What is an Empirical Model?5.2.1 A Model-Based Understanding5.3 The Purposes of Empirical Models5.4 The Illogic of Theory Testing5.4.1 Falsificationism5.4.2 Verificationism5.4.3 Bayesian Confirmation5.5 The Other Uses of Empirical Modeling5.6 Conclusion6. Explanation6.1 Introduction6.2 Existing justifications6.3 Explanation6.3.1 What constitutes an explanation?6.3.2 Explanation in Political Science6.4 Models as explanations6.5 Choosing among explanations6.5.1 Comparative Model Testing6.5.2 Is choosing necessary?6.6 Conclusion7. Conclusion7.1 Introduction7.2 Review of the argument7.3 Issues and counterargumentsBibliography