Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations

Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations

by Richard Ned Lebow
     
 

"Forbidden Fruit is the kind of border-busting book that takes scholars to places they would otherwise never find, let alone inhabit. Some of those places are well outside our comfort zones, so be prepared to be infuriated. Then get over it. Forbidden Fruit will help you become more creative, self-aware, and careful, and in doing so it will make you a

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Overview

"Forbidden Fruit is the kind of border-busting book that takes scholars to places they would otherwise never find, let alone inhabit. Some of those places are well outside our comfort zones, so be prepared to be infuriated. Then get over it. Forbidden Fruit will help you become more creative, self-aware, and careful, and in doing so it will make you a better social scientist."—Colin Elman, Maxwell School of Syracuse University

"Forbidden Fruit provides a fascinating study of the use and misuse of counterfactual analysis. Lebow demonstrates the ubiquity of counterfactual assumptions and the importance of making them carefully. He outlines clear criteria for constructing and assessing counterfactuals, and offers practical suggestions for balancing conflicting cognitive biases to improve assessments of historical pasts and probable futures. This book deserves the attention of anyone who predicts, explains, thinks, or invests."—Andrew Bennett, Georgetown University

"Lebow uses counterfactual reasoning to probe the limits of international relations theory and to push us to think more carefully about how we understand causation. He seeks to convince a field still dominated by systemic and structural theorists that more attention needs to be paid to contingency, multiple causal factors, and the interaction and confluence of factors. Lebow illustrates how overconfident and indeterminate most international relations theory actually is."—Richard Herrmann, Ohio State University

"Forbidden Fruit is a wonderful book. Lebow is a prominent social scientist, exceedingly well versed in methodological issues and deeply immersed in social psychology. He does an excellent job of demonstrating that counterfactual reasoning is indispensable to theory-driven social science and the writing of good history. Lebow is a gifted storyteller. His conclusions feel like they are as inevitable as they are surprising."—Nicholas Onuf, professor emeritus, Florida International University

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691132907
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/07/2010
Pages:
348
Sales rank:
1,283,797
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


Richard Ned Lebow is the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor of Government at Dartmouth College and the Centennial Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His many books include "A Cultural Theory of International Relations" and "We All Lost the Cold War" (Princeton).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Part 1

Chapter 1 Making Sense of the World 3

Chapter 2 Counterfactual Thought Experiments 29

Part 2

Chapter 3 Franz Ferdinand Found Alive: World War I Unnecessary 69

Chapter 4 Leadership and the End of the Cold War: Did It Have to End This Way? George W. Breslauer 103

Part 3

Chapter 5 Scholars and Causation 1 Philip E. Tetlock 137

Chapter 6 Scholars and Causation 2 166

Appendix Experiment 4, Instrument 1: Unmaking American Tragedies 196

Chapter 7 If Mozart Had Died at Your Age: Psycho-logic versus Statistical Inference 205

Chapter 8 Heil to the Chief: Sinclair Lewis, Philip Roth, and Fascism 222

Conclusions 259

Notes 287

Index 329

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