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Debates across the social sciences rely on philosophical markers, notably the contemporary polarization between the so-called ‘positivists’ and ‘post-modernists.’ These labels are contested. Few ‘positivists’ rely on a narrow definition of falsification, and many ‘post-modernists’ reject extreme relativism. But the division is also grounded in some legitimate ontological and epistemological differences. For instance, positivists resist including language as a form of observable behavior, and those who reject by assumption the salience of culture or language need not debate how best to study meanings. Post-modernists, in turn, generally see concerns over rigorous analysis as a hallmark of a putatively flawed scientific approach to human action. One unfortunate result of this pervasive divide is a limited appreciation of the insights offered by scholars working within alternative frameworks. It leaves little common ground for analyzing the role of rhetoric in foreign policy choice, for instance.
KeywordsForeign Policy International Relation Historical Narrative International Relation Limited Appreciation
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