Model Discipline Political Science and the Logic of Representations

ISBN-10: 019538220X

ISBN-13: 9780195382204

Edition: 2011

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Description:

Political science is an intensely quantitative discipline, and models are central. Political scientists use models--formal and informal, statistical and qualitative--to investigate and illuminate causal mechanisms, generate comparative data, and understand the conditions under which certain outcomes are expected to occur. But even though the use of models has grown dramatically in the discipline, there is very little understanding among political scientists of the role or function that models play in the scientific enterprise more generally. Moreover, theoretical models and empirical models have traditionally been treated as separate (hence the division between theorists and empiricists). Today, however, the emphasis is on using models to generate testable predictions that serve as hypotheses for subsequent data analysis. But how do we justify and rationalize the method? Why test predictions from a deductive, and thus truth-preserving, system? David Primo and Kevin Clarke tackle these central questions in this novel work of methodology. They argue that the lack of a suitable justification for model testing is not the only reason to revisit the role of models in political science. Most importantly, they contend that models should be seen as 'objects' and thus neither true nor false. Rather, they should be evaluated in the same fashion as models are evaluated in the physical sciences--good models are useful for particular purposes. Nothing more, nothing less. Divided into two parts, the book first establishes that no social scientific endeavor is philosophy-free. The second part focuses on different types of models, and closes with a framework for integrating theoretical and statistical models.
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Book details

List price: $24.99
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 2/16/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 232
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.012
Language: English

Preface
A Model Discipline
The Model in Political Science
Metaphors and Analogies, Fables and Fictions
The broad themes of the book
Science is not what we think it is
Current practice is not "philosophy-free"
Models are objects
Models are not tested with data
Explanation
Plan of the Book
What this Book is Not
The Science in Political Science
Introduction
What Political Scientists Say They Are Doing
Hypothetico-Deductivism
Problems with H-D
Deductions are Truth-Preserving
Data Can't Speak for Themselves
Other Problems with H-D
How We Got Here
Logical Positivism
Pathologies of Rational Choice
Methods and Models
The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models
Conclusion
What is a Model?
Introduction
Models as Maps
A Few Examples
The Received View of Scientific Theories
The Semantic Conception of Scientific Theories
The Model-Based View of Scientific Theories
Models and Theories
Conclusion
Theoretical Models
Introduction
Aspects of Theoretical Models
The Purposes of Models
Foundational Models
Organizational Models
Exploratory Models
Predictive Models
Judging a Theoretical Model
Prediction is the Wrong Standard (Usually)
The Illusion of Precise Standards
Dimensions of Usefulness
Conclusion
Empirical Models
Introduction
What is an Empirical Model?
A Model-Based Understanding
The Purposes of Empirical Models
The Illogic of Theory Testing
Falsificationism
Verificationism
Bayesian Confirmation
The Other Uses of Empirical Modeling
Conclusion
Explanation
Introduction
Existing justifications
Explanation
What constitutes an explanation?
Explanation in Political Science
Models as explanations
Choosing among explanations
Comparative Model Testing
Is choosing necessary?
Conclusion
Conclusion
Introduction
Review of the argument
Issues and counterarguments
Bibliography
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