How To Map Arguments In Political Science

Paperback | April 19, 2007

byCraig Parsons

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To venture into explanation of political action we need some map of our basic options: what kinds of explanations are out there? Even advanced students and scholars can find the landscape difficult to chart. We confront a bewildering maze of partial typologies, contrasting uses of terms, anddebate over what counts as explanation. This book makes an argument about the most useful first cut into explanations of action. It illustrates the map with reference to political examples and a wide range of political science literature, but the scheme applies even more broadly across the socialsciences and history.Common terms form the sectors of the map: structural, institutional, ideational, and psychological logics. This book's novelties lie in arguments about how to best define these terms. It narrows them into distinct mechanisms, arriving at basic segments of causal logic into which all explanations ofaction can be broken down. It also makes them compatible, however, such that we could imagine a world in which all operated while debating how much each caused any given action. Four benefits follow. The typology directs our attention to the most basic debates about what causes what. Its frameworkis systematic and exhaustive, bounding our explanatory universe. It defines our main approaches in ways that facilitate both competition and combination. Lastly, it leads to revisions of prevailing views on philosophy of science and research design to encourage more open and rigorous debates.Graduate students will find no other overviews of comparable scope and precision. Scholars of all theoretical inclinations will encounter provocative challenges to their views of theorizing and use of terms.

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To venture into explanation of political action we need some map of our basic options: what kinds of explanations are out there? Even advanced students and scholars can find the landscape difficult to chart. We confront a bewildering maze of partial typologies, contrasting uses of terms, anddebate over what counts as explanation. This ...

Craig Parsons is interested in the ideas and institutions that came together to construct today's Europe. His first book, "A Certain Idea of Europe" (Cornell University Press, 2003), focused on how certain political principles out-battled others in the construction of the European Union. He has also led three edited-book projects, res...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.47 inPublished:April 19, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019928668X

ISBN - 13:9780199286683

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Boundaries and Divisions in Explanation of Action2. Structural Explanation3. Institutional Explanation4. Ideational Explanation5. Psychological ExplanationConclusion