Friedrich Kratochwil's pragmatic search for a theory of international relations

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Abstract

In response to Kratochwil's focus on the problem of theory-building in international relations (IR), I argue, first, that history (or historical ways of asking/answering questions) is essential to IR, but that, once this is accepted, a host of questions regarding the nature and function of historical knowledge-claims must be incorporated into meta-IR investigations of the kind Kratochwil and others have engaged in predominantly from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Second, I accept Kratochwil's main thesis that the failure of foundationalism does not lead us to nihilism or relativism but point out that there is an easier way to express this thesis via Kuhn's later treatment of theory choice in science. Third, I briefly point to a number of uncertainties regarding Kratochwil's plea for pragmatism in IR theory-building.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-39
JournalJournal of International Relations and Development
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2007

Keywords

  • Kratochwil
  • Kuhn
  • philosophy of history
  • pragmatism
  • theory building

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