A fetish for measurement? Karl Deutsch in the second debate

Jan Ruzicka*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article begins by asking why Karl Deutsch never directly intervened in what has come to be known in the field as the second debate. This point of departure is used to outline Deutsch's views on the purpose of knowledge. It is apparent that Deutsch was unwilling to make the distinction between the traditional and scientific approaches, which stood at the heart of the debate started by Hedley Bull. Deutsch's position tried to embrace both approaches, because they were necessary in order to answer the big and important questions he asked. Deutsch also rejected the notion that the scientific approach could be devoid of normative concerns. Finally, the article argues that Deutsch keenly adopted methods connected with the scientific approach because he believed they made it possible to spot new patterns which might hold novel answers to the profoundly normative question of humankind's survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-384
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2014


  • Hedley Bull
  • international relations
  • Karl Deutsch
  • knowledge
  • second debate


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