Why we need different theories in International Relations

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Why we need different theories in International Relations

Postby rja2015 on October 8th, 2015, 10:39 pm 

This is a very short essay on why social sciences, especially international relations, has to rely on many available theories. Please help me see the logical and writing flaws of this essay. Thanks!

Philosophers of science still disagree on the nature of social truths or its possibility. At one end of the spectrum, positivists argue that social truths exist and can be discovered using the methods of the natural sciences. Post positivists and anti-positivists oppose this sweeping claim. They argue for value plurality or at least methodological diversity in social research. This debate itself is a proof that social reality is fluid and volatile. Social sciences, including international relations, require different theoretical lenses to understand the cultural underpinnings of a particular event. Sticking to one theory tends to disregard the rapid and inevitable social changes. Thucydides’ realism simply couldn’t account for the emergence of new weapons, sovereignty and national territory, and the birth of international law. It was Morgenthau who made it responsive to the issues of 20th century. However, it, too, became passé after at the end of the Cold War. A new theory was needed to explain globalization and the unique problems of post-cold war and 21st century politics.

Theories in International Relations reflect the foreseeable and actual events during the time of their creation. Problems in contemporary international relations and the states’ considerations in addressing them are varied. These problems and considerations cut through many political theories. Meaning no single theory can explain the foreign policy decisions by states, much less the current state of international system. Sometimes, no available theory can explain the eccentric behaviors and policies of certain states. North Korea’s Juche ideology, for instance, does not fit perfectly into any existing paradigms.
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