, Volume 154, Issue 1-2, pp 153-156
Date: 20 Nov 2012

Kevin A. Clarke, David M. Primo: A model discipline: political science and the logic of representations

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What do advocates and practitioners of modeling really know about the nature, properties and epistemological dimensions of their social science models? What if an investigation into the foundations, nature and testing of theoretical and empirical models reveals that being skilled at model construction is not the same as having thought in a rigorous fashion about models and their functions in social science?

Kevin Clarke and David Primo engage in such an investigation and find out that the views currently held by the mainstream political scientists (broadly defined to include political economists and institutional theorists): (a) distort the criteria for what good work in social sciences should be, (b) have potentially harmful consequences for the kind of research that is deemed as publishable, (c) may produce incentives generating an adverse selection of research programs and, (d) in general, may be detrimental to “real research” knowledge production, irrespective of the philosophical o