Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives / Edition 1

Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives / Edition 1

ISBN-10:
0691027919
ISBN-13:
9780691027913
Pub. Date:
08/19/1996
Publisher:
Princeton University Press

Paperback - Rent for

Select a Purchase Option (New Edition)
  • purchase options
    $69.95
  • purchase options

Overview

Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives / Edition 1

Political scientists often ask themselves what might have been if history had unfolded differently: if Stalin had been ousted as General Party Secretary or if the United States had not dropped the bomb on Japan. Although scholars sometimes scoff at applying hypothetical reasoning to world politics, the contributors to this volume—including James Fearon, Richard Lebow, Margaret Levi, Bruce Russett, and Barry Weingast—find such counterfactual conjectures not only useful, but necessary for drawing causal inferences from historical data. Given the importance of counterfactuals, it is perhaps surprising that we lack standards for evaluating them. To fill this gap, Philip Tetlock and Aaron Belkin propose a set of criteria for distinguishing plausible from implausible counterfactual conjectures across a wide range of applications.

The contributors to this volume make use of these and other criteria to evaluate counterfactuals that emerge in diverse methodological contexts including comparative case studies, game theory, and statistical analysis. Taken together, these essays go a long way toward establishing a more nuanced and rigorous framework for assessing counterfactual arguments about world politics in particular and about the social sciences more broadly.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691027913
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 08/19/1996
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 7.75(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.83(d)

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

Acknowledgments

1 Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives 1

2 Causes and Counterfactuals in Social Science: Exploring an Analogy between Cellular Automata and Historical Processes 39

3 Counterfactual Reasoning in Western Studies of Soviet Politics and Foreign Relations 69

4 Confronting Hitler and Its Consequences 95

5 Back to the Past: Counterfactuals and the Cuban Missile Crisis 119

6 Counterfactual Reasoning in Motivational Analysis: U.S. Policy toward Iran 149

7 Counterfactuals about War and Its Absence 171

8 Using Counterfactuals in Historical Analysis: Theories of Revolution 187

9 Counterfactuals and International Affairs: Some Insights from Game Theory 211

10 Off-the-Path Behavior: A Game-Theoretic Approach to Counterfactuals and Its Implications for Political and Historical Analysis 230

11 Rerunning History: Counterfactual Simulation in World Politics 247

12 Counterfactuals, Past and Future 268

Commentary 1: Conceptual Blending and Counterfactual Argument in the Social and Behavioral Sciences 291

Commentary 2: Psychological Biases in Counterfactual Thought Experiments 296

Commentary 3: Counterfactual Inferences as Instances of Statistical Inferences 301

Commentary 4: Counterfactuals, Causation, and Complexity 309

References 317

Index 337

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews