Is International Relations A Science? Essay

1430 words - 6 pages

There is an alarming difference on how science and political science affect those looking for answers through these disciplines. When a new theory or explanation emerges in the scientific community, most are quick to say, “science has proven...” However, when political scientists arrive at a new conclusion, or when an existing “fact” turns out to be false, and a new paradigm comes along in the political science arena, most people are quick to brush it off, and rarely do they change their minds when the new paradigm contradicts their belief. Whether this raises questions on the validity of the claims made in the political science field, or if it raises questions on the ...view middle of the document...

The political science discipline deals with the theory and exercise of politics, political behavior, and it explains and analyzes political systems. The terms political science and politics are most commonly used interchangeably, but political science is focused on solving puzzles and producing results, which generally requires the scientific methodology of theory, and research. However, it is similar to normal and other social sciences in the way its political scientists uses methods, tools and techniques that relate to the kinds of inquiries required to solve complex puzzles. Nevertheless, unlike politics, political science is not about relationships (between nations), it is about producing results to issues in a variety of fields that exist within its framework.
International Relations (IR), political economy, geopolitics, political theory and law, political philosophy and ideology, and policy analysis, are some of the subfields hosted by the political science discipline. The dominant methodological approach in IR focuses on examining the process of international systems and the dynamics of countries and regions throughout the world by practicing objective and systematic observation to verify its methods and results (Nye and Welsh, 2013).
Political scientists work tirelessly trying to solve puzzles that can, does, and will continue to make an impact on the quality of life of people all over the world. The goal for this paper is to move beyond the on-going debate concerning the validity of political science as a genuine science. Prominent Political scientists such as the late Kenneth Waltz, Hans Morgenthau, Henry A. Kissinger, Samuel P. Huntington, who are considered pioneers in the field, have made their contributions to the great demarcation debates (NYT, 2013). Due to the broad scope of what comprises political science and what it does, the focus of this paper will be on the major sub-division of Political Science, which is International Relations (IR). It will also present the role of political scientists, and how they use scientific methods to study political and social fabric of nations around the world.
What Is International Relations?
International Relations became a subfield of political science when tensions were rising between the United States and the Soviet Union (Martin, 2013). Following WWI and WWII, scholars and philosophers became interested in how nation-states interacted with one another and set out to develop a “conceptual framework on how international relations could be analyzed” (Martin, 2013). However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that International Relations became accepted as a social science “with the discipline becoming explicitly theoretical and empirical and its rewards going to those scholars who embraced a scientific approach” (Frieden and Lake, 2013). Although IR gained significant recognition long ago, these authors are not satisfied with the progress made within the field, and suggest that the discipline...

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