Browsing by Subject "realism"

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  • Patomäki, Heikki (University of Helsinki, Helsinki Centre for Global Political Economy, 2021)
    Helsinki Global Political Economy Working Papers
    For decades, the concept of “structural reform” has been dominant in the economic policy discourse of the EU and most of its member states, from Greece to Finland. The term gets its meaning mainly from neoclassical economic theory, though there are also Schumpeterian and other elements. An analysis of the theoretical underpinnings of the concept (which emerged in the 1980s and was spread through the Bretton Woods institutions and the OECD) reveals conceptual and theoretical ambiguities and factual weaknesses. While many of these weaknesses are related to unrealistic assumptions, I argue further that the realisticness of particular assumptions is different from the realism of the approach and relevance of the problematic. Second, to explore the limitations of the concept in its current meaning, I outline a brief genealogy of the concept of structure in social sciences and then juxtapose the economistic concept of structure with that of realist social theory. Third, I explore the implications of this deeper ontological conception of structure to the meaning and nature of possible structural reforms. Fourth, I give a few examples of alternative structural reforms to make my points more concrete. The envisioned programme of structural changes would amount to reversing the current EU strategy for growth. In the end, I summarise the overall argument.
  • Mansikkaniemi, Mikaela (2002)
    Avhandlingens syfte har varit att med hjälp av den valda teoretiska referensramen, som baserar sig på debatten mellan den internationella politikens två "stora teorier", rama in den finländska flykting-politiken i brytningsskedet mellan kalla kriget och dess slut. Huvudfrågan är: Har den finländska flyktingpolitiken gått i en liberalare riktning under 1990-talet, såsom kunde förväntas då de mänskliga rättigheterna i övrigt under denna tid har vuxit i betydelse i Finlands utrikespolitik? Med den finländska flyktingpolitiken förstås i arbetet politiken i form av de ställningstaganden som getts angående flyktingarna under ifrågavarande period. Ställningstagandena avslöjar de förklaringar/ argument som använts för den förda politiken. Ställningstagandena har tagits huvudsakligen från verket Ulkopoliittisia lausuntoja ja asiakirjoja, åren 1990-1999. Som bakgrund till ställnings-tagandenas retorik presenteras den förverkligade politiken, d.v.s. de mottagna flyktingarna och de finansiella bidrag som getts för flyktingrelaterade ändamål. Arbetets metod är alltså en politisk argumentationsanalys. Liberalismen-realismen debatten belyser i detta fall framför allt flyktingproblematiken som en fråga som står i korsdraget mellan de nationella och internationella influenserna samt mellan de liberala humanitära och nationella/nationalistiska målsättningarna i politiken. Utgående från den teoretiska referensramen antog jag hypotetiskt att 1990-talets förändringsprocesser för Finlands del haft som följd för flyktingpolitiken, att den liberaliserats samt att förklaringarna till den förda politiken gått från hänvisandet till internationella "externa faktorer" (att mottagandet av flyktingar var en fientlig handling mot Sovjetunionen samtidigt som Finland har förpliktelser som följer av undertecknandet av konventioner rörande de mänskliga rättigheterna) till nationella "interna faktorer" (ekonomiskt och etniskt nationalistiska argument samt hänvisande till den liberala politiska traditionen). Undersökningens resultat visar att den förverkligade flyktingpolitiken (mottagna flyktingar och finansiella bidrag) stått så gott som stilla, den har inte liberaliserats. Däremot har argumenten och förklaringarna till politiken delvis förändrats. Argumenten till politiken hänvisar fortfarande till internationella faktorer som de främsta påverkarna av Finlands flyktingpolitik. Enligt argumenteringarna begränsar diverse "yttre faktorer" fortsättningsvis Finlands valmöjligheter att föra en självständig flyktingpolitik (i slutet av 1990-talet framför allt EU-samarbetet). Till nationella faktorer hänvisas ungefär lika ofta i slutet av perioden som i dess början (främst ekonomiska faktorer respektive hänvisningar till Finlands liberala politiska tradition).
  • Ahvo, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis examines French political debates related to the founding of the League of Nations in the years 1917-1919 and the political and ideological reasons that led to the oblivion of the French juridical internationalist model for the League. When the League of Nations was created in the Paris Peace Conference that followed the end of World War I, the French delegation presented a model for the League that was based on a specific French current of internationalism (juridical internationalism) largely forgotten today. It was opposed both to the Anglo-American view presented by American President Woodrow Wilson and the British delegation and the view of French Premier Clemenceau. In order to recover the intentions of the participants to the political discussions, this thesis employs Quentin Skinner’s methodological reflections on the history of ideas. The source material consists of the minutes of the French National Assembly, the Senate and the Paris Peace Conference as well as the notes of the most prominent advocate of juridical internationalism, Léon Bourgeois. These records are studied by situating them in their historical context and in relation to relevant intellectual traditions and ongoing political discussions. The formulation of the French policy is explored in three different contexts that capture the national and international levels of discussion: the French parliament, the French Interministerial Commission on the League of Nations and the Paris Peace Conference. The studies of Peter Jackson (2013) and Scott G. Blair (1992) on the French League of Nations policy constitute the main works of secondary literature. The theoretical framework of this study relies on the English School’s pluralistic approach to international relations. Different conceptions of the League of Nations are examined using the concepts of realism and idealism in international relations theory. These concepts help demonstrate the differences and similarities between juridical internationalism, Wilsonian idealism and traditional realist power politics. Historiography of the Paris Peace Conference has often presented the situation as a confrontation between traditional balance of power politics and Wilsonian idealism, but the juridical internationalist conception of the new world order was actually something between these two. By analysing this French current of internationalism through the concepts of realism and idealism, this thesis demonstrates that juridical internationalism represented a third way between the two traditional paradigms that combined elements of both. The juridical internationalists envisaged a League of Nations based on the codification of international law and equipped with a permanent tribunal and powerful systems of legal, economic, diplomatic and military sanctions enforced by an international army and a permanent command structure. This thesis puts forward the interpretation that the merits of this conception of the League were not properly appreciated during the Paris Peace Conference because it was overshadowed by the diplomatic and political calculations of Wilson and Clemenceau. Later, the juridical internationalist model has been disregarded as a result of being misunderstood as idealism and linked to the negative connotations the term carries. In reality, this model combined elements of realism and idealism similar to the rationalist and solidarist inclinations of the English School.
  • Hyytinen, Heidi (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    The aim of this study is to explore by systematic textual analysis the crucial conceptions of constructive alignment and to reconstruct the concept of constructive alignment and examine the relation between conceptual relationships in John Biggs's texts. In this study, I have also analyzed the presuppositions of the concept of constructive alignment and its possible implications. The research material includes Biggs's (1996b; 2003) article entitled Enhancing Teaching through Constructive Alignment and book entitled Teaching for Quality Learning at University. The primary purpose of the systematic textual analysis is to reconstruct concepts and gain access to a new or more profound understanding of the concepts. The main purpose of the constructive alignment is to design a teaching system that supports and encourages students to adopt a deep approach learning. At the center of the constructive alignment are two concepts: constructivism in learning and alignment in teaching. A tension was detected between these concepts. Biggs assumes that students' learning activities are primed by the teaching. Because of this it is not important what the teacher does. At the same time he emphasizes that teaching interacts with learning. The teacher's task is to support student's appropriate learning activities. On the basis of the analysis, I conclude these conceptions are not mutually exclusive. Interaction between teaching and learning has an effect on student's learning activities. The most essential benefit of the model of constructive alignment is that Biggs brings together and considers teaching at the same level with learning. A weakness of Biggs's model relates to the theoretical basis and positions of the concept of constructive alignment. There are some conflicts between conceptions of epistemology in Biggs's texts. In addition, Biggs writes about constructivism also as conceptions of epistemology, but doesn't consider implications of that position or what follows or doesn't follow from that commitment. On the basis of the analysis, I suggest that constructivism refers in Biggs's texts rather to constructivism in learning than philosophical constructivism. In light of this study, constructive alignment doesn't lead to philosophical constructivism. That's why constructive alignment stays out of idealism. Biggs's way of thinking about teachers possibility to confronting students' misconceptions and evaluate and assess students' constructions support a realist purpose in terms of philosophical stance. Realism does not drift toward general problems of relativism, like lack of criteria for assessing or evaluate these constructions.
  • Reyes, Kirsi L. (2004)
    Much discussion has been introduced about where the role of American foreign policy and ideological thinking will fit in the realm of the international domain in the 21st century. Since the end of the Cold War, the concrete notion of an enemy is no longer there and the realist thought that dominated American foreign policy for some forty years is now seemingly giving way to liberalist ideology. Critics have therefore described the end of the Cold War as the triumph of democratic liberalist ideas. However, the end of the Cold War is not a viable reason to assume that realist thinking then is completely replaced by liberalist thinking. Subscribing to accept one sole theory to explain, “why states act they way they do” is not a conducive means for the current study of international relations. Thus, the thesis examines the argument of a blend of realist and liberalist elements in foreign policymaking by highlighting the key merits of realism and liberalism and examining the formulation of American foreign policy and foreign policy in general. To further support the blend of realist and liberalist elements is a brief investigation of U.S. foreign policy before the 1990’s and afterwards to demonstrate that although the Clinton administration initiated liberal programs, realist motives for liberalist ideals are prominent in Clinton’s policies directed towards the Baltic States. The Joint Baltic American National Committee and the Northern Europe Initiative policy further solidify this notion of realist motives for liberalist ideals.
  • Ruokonen, Anssi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    One of the most debated areas of metaethics is whether moral beliefs should be understood as descriptive beliefs or as non-cognitive states of mind. If the former is true, then moral beliefs are truth-apt and should be understood to describe facts of the world. Expressivists think that moral beliefs are expressions of non-cognitive states of mind similar to desires and that moral beliefs do not get their meaning from any descriptive facts. Instead, the function of a moral judgement is to avow attitudes, express preferences, or the like. This thesis explores two problems, which arise from the expressivists understanding of moral beliefs. More specifically, the problems investigated are about how uncertainty and certainty in our moral beliefs should be understood by those endorsing expressivism. Expressivism neatly explains why moral beliefs have a motivational force, but faces problems in explaining why our everyday normative talk seems to behave as if moral beliefs are similar to all the descriptive beliefs we have. Quasi-realism is a project aimed to explain and justify everyday moral talk from the expressivist viewpoint. Moral error is one of the concepts our everyday moralizing uses, which quasi-realism aims to justify. Being wrong in moral matters should be possible, as should uncertainty on whether your own moral beliefs are erroneous. If moral beliefs are expressions of desire-like non-cognitive states of mind, it is not obvious how we can be uncertain of them. After all, desires are traditionally thought to be unquestionable. An explanation of moral uncertainty is, in this case, a crucial goal for quasi-realism. Andy Egan claims that quasi-realists cannot provide a good enough explanation of moral uncertainty. In particular, he argues that there are fundamental moral beliefs which quasi-realists are forced to judge as a priori true, while everyone else’s fundamental moral beliefs can be doubted. If so, this asymmetry means that quasi-realists are unpardonably smug and so fail to vindicate our everyday understanding of morality. Michael Smith provides another problem for quasi-realists and expressivists. He claims that moral beliefs have three features, and expressivists can only provide an explanation of two of them. These three features are the importance of a belief versus other beliefs, its stability when new facts and opinions are uncovered, and the certitude that the belief holder has regarding the truthfulness of the belief. From these three features, it is certitude that is widely regarded as the one which expressivists cannot explain, making quasi-realists’ goals once again unattainable. This thesis explores the different ways quasi-realists and expressivists have tried to answer these arguments and failed. I will argue that the two problems presented here are linked, and the solution to Egan’s argument can only be gained if Smith’s argument is also solved. Smith’s understanding of certitude is argued to be erroneous, and that his problem of explaining certitude poses no further problems for expressivists, which everyone else would not face as well. In addition, this thesis will have suggestions of how certitude should be understood regardless of metaethical views. As for Egan’s challenge, I will argue that his definition of fundamental moral beliefs is incomplete. I propose that fundamental moral belief should be understood as completely certain beliefs and that expressions of knowledge accompany those, and that no-one can doubt fundamental beliefs. We are all smug when it comes to our most fundamental moral beliefs.
  • Halme, Miia Marika (2001)
    This is a study of all the reasons why it is impossible to allow the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida to use their own culturally determined mode of dispute resolution to settle a homicide case. However, it is simultaneously also a methodological experiment on the way anthropological approach can be used to study state law. Thus, despite the importance of answers to the question posed here, at least equal significance is placed on all the ancillary information acquired on the way to answers: what kind of difficulties such an approach entails, and what kind of methodological choices can be used to overcome them. In other words the attempt is to take rather orthodox, although modified, anthropological methods to a whole new setting, and to study both what kind of new insights could be gained from such an approach, and to examine what kind of contributions the method could offer to this new field. Further questions are also created on the relationship of state law to other modes of social control - should all of them be the subject of study, or should clear division be maintained between formal and casual modes dispute resolution? What should then be identified as social control, and who should be identified as its author? Overall the study derives from a variety of sources, including newspaper articles, communications from the attorneys of the parties involved and other online documents.