falsification and realismhey,, i would like to ask a basic question about the falsification to realism. before that, falsification is one of the method to critique a theory,  but it's used in...

falsification and realism

hey,, i would like to ask a basic question about the falsification to realism. before that, falsification is one of the method to critique a theory,  but it's used in purpose to stregthen the theory.

so i would be glad to get some discussions about the falsification to realism theory.

Asked on by raditzky

3 Answers | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I have to agree with #2, in addition stating that in your discussion post you said that falsification of a theory can be used to strengthen a theory, which seems to be self-evident, given the difficulties of falsifying a theory as highlighted above. A theory as big and as broad and as encompassing as realism can't really be falsified.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Are you asking how you could falsify the theory of realism -- prove that it is false?  Personally, I do not think that you can falsify it.  Popper says that any scientific theory must be falsifiable, but this is not really science (even if we call it "political science").

How can you prove, for example, that states try to maximize their interests (defined as power or security)?  When the US invaded Iraq, how can you prove that we did so to make ourselves more powerful?  How can you prove that it was not done in order to remove Saddam Hussein for humanitarian reasons?

Whenever you get into human actions, theories (especially ones as broad as realism) can't really be falsified.

It's not even easy to falsify small parts of a theory.  For example -- try to falsify the idea that states are unitary actors that have state interests.  Can you prove that our invasion of Iraq was in pursuit of state interests rather than the particular interests of George Bush and the Republican Party?  Can't be done, I don't think.

So I'm of the opinion that you can't falsify this...

raditzky's profile pic

raditzky | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

Popper said that theory is hypothesis. So it must be falsifiable. It will be hard to falsify any theory without empirical research. But, it doesn't mean that political science isn't falsifiable.

For realism, can't we just say that it can't be falsified by feminism or liberalism? Then at the end we just say that realism theory still exist?

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