Praxis, politics and the future : a dialectical critical realist account of world-historical causation

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Patomäki , H O 2017 , ' Praxis, politics and the future : a dialectical critical realist account of world-historical causation ' , Journal of International Relations and Development , vol. 20 , no. 4 , 2016.17 , pp. 805-825 . https://doi.org/10.1057/jird.2016.17

Title: Praxis, politics and the future : a dialectical critical realist account of world-historical causation
Author: Patomäki, Heikki Olavi
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Date: 2017
Language: eng
Number of pages: 21
Belongs to series: Journal of International Relations and Development
ISSN: 1408-6980
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/297754
Abstract: Both positivists and post-positivists have misunderstood causation. By explaining why there are no stable and uncontested empirical invariances in IR, critical realism (CR) has pushed theoreticians and practitioners to reflect critically upon the conception of causation they have so far taken for granted. However, the original CR claim about radical asymmetry between explanation and prediction has turned out to be misleading. Not everything is irregular. Policy and action are future-oriented and require at least some predictive capacities. In this paper, I explore ways in which practically adequate knowledge can draw on historical analogies, social organisation of time and space, contrastive demi-regularities and explanatory theories and models. Anticipations of future possibilities — that may concern even the global system as a whole — must be made systematically revisable and be reflexively aware of their own involvement in shaping the course of history. The concept of probability, too, can and must be rethought from this perspective. Finally, I argue that the notion of reflexive self-regulation of social systems has interesting parallels in the theory of history, ethics and politics of dialectical CR, understood as a theory of freedom.
Subject: 517 Political science
historical analogy, normative discourse, open system, prediction, reflexivity, scenario
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