1. Toward an a priori theory of international relations (pdf) Mark Cravelli, JLS
  2. A fourth way out of the dilemma facing libertarianism (pdf) Laurent Dobuzinskis, C+T
  3. Taobao, federalism, and the emergence of law, Chinese-style (pdf) Liu & Weingast, MLR
  4. A road not taken: the foreign policy vision of Robert A. Taft (pdf) Michael Hayes, TIR

6 thoughts on “Nightcap

  1. As an economist who has been drawn into teaching several International Relations courses I’m bit of an interloper in debates on the methodology/philosophy of science underlying IR. That said, I’m struck, but not surprisingly so, by the way Mark Cravelli’s arguments mirror similar debates in economics as I have noted through both my teaching and research. It’s no coincidence that he cites an economist, Richard Hoppe to help define his a prioristic methodology. I can think of a few other economists who have similarly defined the philosophy of economics, albeit from differing ideological pespectives (E.K. Hunt-Marxism; Paul Davidson Post Keynesian Fundamentalism and Nell and Hollis Post Keynesian/Neo Ricardian). If our behavioral axioms are truly known “a priori” and by introspection and are self evident, one must wonder why the axiomatic foundations of theories vary so dramatically? I would argue-and might do so more rigorously on some occasion-that what is being described are not really “axioms” so much as very general kinds of statements about the nature of reality of a sort we are not actually born with, but which we take as given. I can take them as given with varying degrees of confidence. But the problem remains-how can we know these are in fact the most essential aspects of human experience? It’s one thing to say that I have to have a starting point for theorizing as we obviously do. But when we examine these, they are actually inductive generalizations. I’m also bothered by the way in which a priorists (of any stripe) take the cheap shots of pointing out that many general statements at some point might incur paradoxes of the sort “this sentence is a lie”. For example, the sentence, metaphysics is meaningless is only a paradox if by “metaphysics” one means any general statement about properties of the world. If I say that metaphysical statements are meaningless if when translated into practical implications they are non sensical, there is no paradox (which is what I think most people mean when they criticize metaphysics). I don’t think anyone has ever said there’s no such thing as ontology. To say that would be a paradoxical statement. So, before I start repeating myself I’ll just some with my main point: what Mark Cravelli claims as given by introspection is not known by introspection but rather hypothesized on the basis of reflection about our general experience. I will add that a further flaw of this article is its cheap shot at induction which has been addressed by multiple figures.

  2. “A Road Not Taken: The foreign policy vision of Robert A. Taft”: Taft was right; so was Jesus Christ. Both are gone. Has humanity changed behavior in either’s direction?

    • Taft and Jesus? I dunno Jack, you’re going to have to explain yourself on this one!

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