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Toward a Postpositivist World

Hermeneutics for Understanding International Relations, Environment, and Other Important Issues of the Twenty-First Century


One of the oldest philosophies in European intellectual history, Hermeneutics emerged as a process for interpreting scripture and for analyzing jurisprudence, history, and linguistics. In a contemporary context, Hermeneutics offers important opportunities for theory development in the social sciences. This new analysis of Hermeneutics addresses its theoretical possibilities for political science, in general, and for international relations, in particular. It discusses the history and development of both Hermeneutic philosophy and international relations theory and explores approaches for deriving new methodologies appropriate for the study of international relations. The work argues that political scientists face a crucial juncture in their field. The fissure between the «scientific» and the «interpretive», between the «empirical» and the «qualitative», has revealed inadequacies in these traditions, while at the same time, world events have called into question old theoretical approaches. This study offers Hermeneutics as a fertile field for the growth of new theories to political scientists seriously engaged in the reexamination of their discipline.