Positivist Approach In International Relations

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International relations is a human activity in which persons from more than one nation, individually and in groups, interact. International relations are carried on by up close and personal contact and through more indirect communications. Being scientific is knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation, a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena.
Positivist approaches opened the floodgate of scientific method of explanation in International Relations, where the success or failure of predictions
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In other words, the vast majority of international relations research has rested implicitly on positivist assumptions, in which observation and experience are the central criteria to judge scientific methodologies. Methodological significance of positivism should therefore be noted. Positivists observe facts, (i.e. international events), detect the regularities in nature of international affairs, propose a generalization, and deduce what it implies for the next case and to confirm whether the prediction succeeds. This process would continue until a solid body of generalization has been established to serve as a reliable source of explanation. In this regard, International Relations theories are a set of propositions that must be testable by observations. In the course of generalization, as a proposed hypothesis derived from an International Relations theory ought to be tested against the evidence before being accepted, one should re-examine the theory if the hypothesis proved wrong. Hence it can be inferred that the positivist task…show more content…
Whereas positivists maintain that the overarching aim of science is the experimentally guided explanation of empirical phenomena under 'covering laws ', normativists and traditionalists hold that social scientists cannot - and, in fact, should not - emulate the causal models of the natural sciences. According to this view, it is virtually impossible to study the influences of distinct variables in complex social interactions, and statistical aggregation merely obscures the fact that the true 'causes ' of events are rarely obvious in the social world. Hence, the purpose of political and social research ought to be a desire to understand processes 'from within ' rather than to explain them 'from outside '. Yet the traditionalist critique of social scientific positivism did not imply that positivists would be entirely oblivious to the importance of norms in international life. IR does not only deal with descriptive, but with political and, ultimately, prescriptive aspects of the social world. Thus, it might appear worthwhile to ask: how scientific are so-called 'scientific ' (positivist) approaches to the study of IR - if their theoretical premises and empirical achievements are taken at face value and judged by their own standards of

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