Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations

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Overview

Could World War I have been averted if Franz Ferdinand and his wife hadn't been murdered by Serbian nationalists in 1914? What if Ronald Reagan had been killed by Hinckley s bullet? Would the Cold War have ended as it did? In Forbidden Fruit, Richard Ned Lebow develops protocols for conducting robust counter factual thought experiments and uses them to probe the causes and contingency of transformative international developments like World War I and the end of the Cold War. He uses experiments, surveys, and a short story to explore why policymakers, historians, and international relations scholars are so resistant to the contingency and in-determinism inherent in open-ended, nonlinear systems. Most controversially, Lebow argues that the difference between counterfactual and so-called factual arguments is misleading, as both can be evidence-rich and logically persuasive. A must-read for social scientists, Forbidden Fruit also examines the binary between fact and fiction and the use of counterfactuals in fictional works like Philip Roth's The Plot Against America to understand complex causation and its implications for who we are and what we think makes the social world work.

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Editorial Reviews

David Marx Reviews
If nothing else, Forbidden Fruit shows how, through counterfactual, alternative thinking, a resounding acknowledgement of the arts can be achieved.
— David Marx
International Affairs
I have benefited enormously from Ned Lebow's learning, imagination and intellectual effort, and am sure that many readers will feel the same way towards this judicious, yet daring, scholarly contribution to the study of history and international relations.
— Hidemi Suganami
David Marx Reviews - David Marx
If nothing else, Forbidden Fruit shows how, through counterfactual, alternative thinking, a resounding acknowledgement of the arts can be achieved.
International Affairs - Hidemi Suganami
I have benefited enormously from Ned Lebow's learning, imagination and intellectual effort, and am sure that many readers will feel the same way towards this judicious, yet daring, scholarly contribution to the study of history and international relations.
From the Publisher

"If nothing else, Forbidden Fruit shows how, through counterfactual, alternative thinking, a resounding acknowledgement of the arts can be achieved."--David Marx, David Marx Reviews

"I have benefited enormously from Ned Lebow's learning, imagination and intellectual effort, and am sure that many readers will feel the same way towards this judicious, yet daring, scholarly contribution to the study of history and international relations."--Hidemi Suganami, International Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691132907
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2010
  • Pages: 348
  • Sales rank: 1,330,407
  • 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).
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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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