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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article offers some explanations for the rise of causal thinking as the ‘behavioural revolution's’ reaction to the nineteenth century's teleological narratives about developmental historicism and early twentieth-century emphasis on modernist empiricism. It describes the philosophical issues that are indispensable to any discussion of the role of a given methodology. Each section after that on the traditions of political science concerns a particular subfield of philosophy — epistemology, ontology, and explanation. The emergence of modernist empiricism, behaviouralism, institutionalism, and rational choice in political science is reported. A comparative approach implies that political scientists are wrong if they think methods can ever justify causal claims or even the data they generate. This article attempted to clarify the underbrush of confusion that arises from reflecting on methods in terms of traditions of political science rather than philosophical subfields and doctrines.

Keywords: meta-methodology, behavioural revolution, developmental historicism, modernist empiricism, falsificationism, Bayesianism, realism, constructivism, institutionalism, rational choice

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