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Causal inquiry in international relations

Humphreys, A. ORCID: and Suganami, H. (2024) Causal inquiry in international relations. Oxford University Press. (In Press)

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Causal Inquiry in International Relations defends a new, philosophically-informed account of the principles which must underpin any causal research in a discipline such as International Relations. Its central claim is that there is an underlying logic to all causal inquiry, at the core of which is the search for empirical evidence capable of ruling out competing accounts of how specific events were brought about. Although this crucial fact is obscured by the ‘culture of generalization’ which predominates in contemporary social science, all causal knowledge ultimately depends on the provision of empirical support for concrete claims about specific events, located in space and time. Causal Inquiry in International Relations not only explores existing philosophical debates around causation, but also provides a detailed study of some of the most fundamental methodological questions which arise in the course of causal inquiry. Using examples drawn from philosophy and from the study of international relations, it demonstrates what is problematic about established ways of thinking, brings new clarity to both philosophical and methodological questions, and seeks to enhance collective understanding of the contribution that causal inquiry can make to empirically rich and critically aware scholarship about world politics. It concludes by situating ‘causal inquiry’ in relation to other forms of inquiry employed in the study of world politics, emphasizing especially the often-unnoticed dependence of causal inquiry on precisely the kind of knowledge of specific events which historians are well-placed to provide.

Item Type:Book
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:114819
Uncontrolled Keywords:Causal inquiry; International Relations; causation; causal explanation; causal inference; causal research; methodology; history; world politics
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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