File feyerabend/feyerabend.0601, message 4

Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 12:37:41 -0500
Subject: [PKF] Feyerabend-related publication announcement

Robert M. Cutler, "Complexity Science and Knowledge-Creation in 
International Relations Theory," in _Institutional and Infrastructural 
Resources_, in _Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems_ (Oxford: Eolss 
Publishers for UNESCO, 2002), <>.

Discussion invited on this list or in correspondence with the author.

Available in PDF (284KB) at

(Feyerabend plays a large role in the argument even though his name is not 
mentioned in the abstract that follows here.) 

This article demonstrates how Lakatos built his systems of 
justificationism and falsificationism upon the foundation of Curry's 
formalist mathematics. Its fundamental result establishes the logical 
status of complexity science, as distinct from and superseding those 
existing systems of proof and refutation commonly acknowledged in social 
science methodology in particular and scientific epistemology in general. 
It establishes that this result, concerning the logico-mathematical status 
of complexity-based scientific reasoning, is not restricted either to the 
field of international relations theory in particular or to the social 
sciences in general. The article begins by setting out the significance of 
complexity science for international relations theory by explaining its 
epistemological and ontological significance for the level of analysis, 
scope of analysis, and scale of analysis. It then explains how these 
points demolish Lakatos's methodology of research programs as an 
epistemology for scientific progress. In particular, it dissects his 
construct of the "problemshift" for developments not only within a single 
research program but also for shifts from one research program to another. 
For this purpose, it presents a detailed example of theoretical 
development drawn from applied international relations theory. The example 
analyzes the succession of Western theories of the domestic politics of 
Soviet foreign policy making during the first half of the Cold War. The 
article analyzes the epistemology of scientific progress inherent in 
complexity science, as illustrated in that example. It describes this as 
"complex justificationism," sets it within a "complex scientific-realist" 
ontology, and sets out, in complexity science terms, several key issues 
with which international relations theory has begun to grapple at the 
beginning of the twenty-first century. It argues how complexity science 
provides a basis for understanding the interrelatedness of these issues 
and treating them comprehensively. It underlines that the epistemological 
undergirding of that argument is valid across fields, disciplines and 
universes of inquiry.

Dr. Robert M. Cutler, Research Fellow, Inst. of European & Russian Studies
  Carleton University, c/o Station 'H', Box 518, Montreal, Canada  H3G 2L5
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