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Clouds, Clocks, and the Study of Politics Author(s): Gabriel A. Almond and Stephen J. Genco Source: World Politics, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Jul., 1977), pp. 489-522 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2010037 Accessed: 15-08-2014 21:49 UTC

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND THE STUDY OF POLITICS

By GABRIEL A. ALMOND and STEPHEN J.GENCO*

IN itseagernessto becomescientific,politicalsciencehas in recent decadestendedtolosecontactwithitsontologicalbase.It hastended totreatpoliticaleventsand phenomenaas naturaleventslendingthem- selvestothesameexplanatorylogicas is foundin physicsand theother hardsciences.This tendencymaybe understoodin partas a phasein thescientificrevolution,as a diffusion,in twosteps,ofontologicaland methodologicalassumptionsfromthe strikinglysuccessfulhard sci- ences: firstto psychologyand economics,and thenfromthesebell- wetherhuman sciencesto sociology,anthropology,politicalscience, and even history.In adoptingthe agenda of hard science,the social sciences,and politicalsciencein particular,were encouragedby the neopositivistschoolofthephilosophyofsciencewhichlegitimatedthis assumptionof ontologicaland meta-methodologicalhomogeneity. Morerecently,somephilosophersofscienceand somepsychologistsand economistshavehad secondthoughtsabouttheapplicabilityto human subjectmattersof strategyused in hard science.It may be usefulto bringtheseargumentsto theattentionofpoliticalscientists.

POPPER S METAPHORS

Karl Popper,who alongwithR. B. Braithwaite,Carl Hempel,and ErnestNagel has arguedthe thesisof meta-methodologicalhomoge- neity,morerecentlyhas stressedthe heterogeneityof reality,and its unamenabilityto a singlemodelof scientificexplanation.He usesthe metaphorof cloudsand clocksto representthe commonsensenotions of determinacyand indeterminacyin physicalsystems.He asksus to imaginea continuumstretchingfromthe mostirregular,disorderly, and unpredictable"clouds"on thelefttothemostregular,orderly,and predictable"clocks"on theright.As thebestexampleofa deterministic systemneartheclock-extreme,Poppercitesthesolarsystem.Toward thisend of thecontinuumwe would findsuchphenomenaas pendu- lums,precisionclocks,and motorcars.As an exampleofa systemnear theother,indeterminate,end of the continuum,he citesa clusterof gnatsor smallfliesin whicheach insectmovesrandomlyexceptthat

* An earlierversionof thispaperwas deliveredat the EdinburghIPSA Congress,

AugustI976.

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WORLD POLITICS

itturnsbacktowardthecenterwhenitstraystoofarfromtheswarm. Nearthisextremewe wouldfindgasclouds,theweather,schoolsof fish,humansocietiesand,perhapsa bitclosertowardthecenter,indi- vidualhumanbeingsandanimals. TheNewtonianrevolutioninphysicspopularizedthenotion-which was to persistforapproximately250 years-thatthiscommonsense arrangementwasinerror.ThesuccessofNewton'stheoryinexplaining andpredictinga multitudeofcelestialandearthboundeventsbyhis lawsofmotionledmostthinkers-althoughnotNewtonhimself-to embracethepositionthattheuniverseandall itspartswerebynature clocklikeandinprinciplecompletelypredictable.Phenomenathathad theappearanceofindeterminacywereviewedas beingmerelypoorly understood;in time,theyalsowereexpectedtobe foundregularand predictable.Thus,thereigningmodelofscienceafterNewtonaffirmed thatall naturewas governedbydeterministiclawsor,to putit in Popper'smetaphor,"all cloudsare clocks-eventhemostcloudyof

clouds."'

In theI920'S, thedevelopmentofquantumtheorychallengedthis clocklikemodelofnatureandsupportedtheviewthatindeterminacy

andchancewerefundamentaltoallnaturalprocesses.Withthisdiscov-

ery,Popper'smetaphorwas inverted;now thedominantviewheld that"tosomedegreeall clocksareclouds;orinotherwords,thatonly cloudsexist,thoughcloudsofverydifferentdegreesofcloudiness."' Manyscientistsand philosophersgreetedthischangeof modelwith relief,sinceitseemedtofreethemfromthenightmareofdeterminism thatdeniedtheefficacyofhumanchoicesandgoals. ButPoppergoeson toarguehiscentralpoint,that"indeterminism is notenough"toaccountfortheapparentautonomyofhumanideas in thephysicalworld."Ifdeterminismis true,thenthewholeworld isa perfectlyrunningflawlessclock,includingallclouds,allorganisms, all animals,all men.If,ontheotherhand,Pierce'sor Heisenberg'sor someotherformofindeterminismis true,thensheerchanceplaysa majorroleinourphysicalworld.Butischancereallymoresatisfactory

thandeterminism?"3

Popperanswersinthenegative.Althoughphysicistsandphilosophers

havetriedtobuildmodelsofhumanchoicebasedupontheunpredict-

abilityofquantumjumps,4herejectstheseas beingtoocircumscribed.

1 Karl R. Popper,"Of Clouds and Clocks:An Approachto theProblemof Ration-

alityand the Freedomof Man," in Popper,ObjectiveKnowledge:An Evolutionary Approach(Oxford:ClarendonPress I972), 2io; emphasisin original.

2 ibid.,2I3; emphasisin original.

4ArthurH. Compton,The Freedomof Man (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress

3 Ibid.,226; emphasisin original.

I935)

.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

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He acknowledgesthat"thequantum-jumpmodelmaybe a model

snapdecisions

Butaresnapdecisionsreallyso veryinter-

esting?Aretheycharacteristicofhumanbehavior-ofrationalhuman

behavior?"He concludes:"I do notthinkso

understandingrationalhumanbehavior-andindeedanimalbehavior

-is somethingintermediatein character,betweenperfectchanceand perfectdeterminism-somethingintermediatebetweenperfectclouds

andperfectclocks

how suchnon-physicalthingsas purposes,deliberations,plans,deci- sions,theories,intentions,andvalues,canplaya partinbringingabout physicalchangesin thephysicalworld"5 Popper'smethodof arrivingat a solutionto thisproblemseems, liketheproblemitself,tobe relevanttopoliticsandpoliticalscience. His conjectureisthattheproblemisessentiallyoneofcontrol;i.e.,the controlofbehaviorandotheraspectsofthephysicalworldbyhuman ideasor mentalabstractions.Thus,he statesthat"thesolutionmust explainfreedom;and it mustalso explainhowfreedomis notjust chancebut,rather,theresultofa subtleinterplaybetweensomething almostrandomorhaphazard,andsomethinglikea restrictiveorselec- tivecontrol-suchas an aimorstandard-thoughcertainlynota cast- ironcontrol."Accordingly,herestrictsthescopeofacceptablesolutions

Forobviouslywhatwe wantis tounderstand

Whatwe needfor

tothosethat"conformtotheideaofcombiningfreedomandcontrol, andalsototheideaof'plasticcontrol,'as

I shallcallitincontradistinc-

tiontoa 'cast-iron'control."' Popperreachesan evolutionarysolutionto thisproblem-onethat

stressestrialanderrorelimination,orvariationandselectiveretention.7

Onlysucha theorycanaccommodateplasticcontrol,andthushuman freedom.Oncethisis seen,theproblemoftherelationshipbetween ideasandbehaviorbecomessolvable:"Forthecontrolofourselvesand ofouractionsbyourtheoriesandpurposesis plasticcontrol.We are notforcedtosubmitourselvestothecontrolofourtheories,forwecan discussthemcritically,andwe canrejectthemfreelyifwe thinkthat theyfallshortofourregulativestandards.Not onlydo ourtheories controlus,butwe cancontrolourtheories(and evenourstandards):

thereisa kindoffeedbackhere."8 Popperconcludes:"We haveseenthatit is unsatisfactoryto look upontheworldas a closedphysicalsystem-whethera strictlydeter-

5Popper (fn.I), 228, 229;

6 ibid.,23I-32;

emphasisin original.

emphasisin original.

7 See Donald T.

Campbell,"Variationand SelectiveRetentionin Socio-cultural

(i969).

Evolution,"GeneralSystemsYearbook,XIV

8 Popper(fn.I),

240-4I; emphasisinoriginal.

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WORLD POLITICS

ministicsystemora systeminwhichwhateverisnotstrictlydetermined is simplyduetochance;on sucha viewoftheworldhumancreative-

nessandhumanfreedomcanonlybe illusions

offereda differentviewoftheworld-oneinwhichthephysicalworld is an opensystem.Thisis compatiblewiththeviewoftheevolution oflifeas a processoftrial-and-errorelimination;and it allowsus to understandrationally,thoughfarfromfully,theemergenceof bio-

logicalnoveltyand the growthof humanknowledgeand human

freedom."9

ThusPoppertellsus thatthemodelsofexplanationappropriateto thephysicalscienceswillnotenableus tocometogripswithhuman and culturalphenomena,and thatwhilewe can increaseourunder- standingofthem,wecannotexplainthemfullybecauseoftheircreative andemergentproperties.

I havetherefore

THE ONTOLOGICAL PROPERTIES OF POLITICS

Popper'sessaypresentsus withthreewaysofconceptualizingsocial reality-asa clock,as a cloud,andas a systemofplasticcontrols.Polit- icalreality,whichitisthetaskofpoliticalsciencetoexplain,is clearly bestcapturedbythethirdconceptualization.Itconsistsofideas-human decisions,goals,purposes-inconstantand intenseinteractionwith otherideas,humanbehavior,andthephysicalworld.Atthecenterof thiscomplexsystemarechoicesanddecisions-decisionstocommand, obey,vote,makedemands.The politicaluniversehas organization; elitesmakedecisionstocommandornottocommand,whatto com-

mand,howtoimplementcommands.Citizensandsubjectsmakedeci-

sionstocomply,howtocomplyornotto comply;tomakedemands, howto makedemands,or notto makedemands.That is theheart ofpolitics,thesubjectmatterourdisciplineis committedtoexploring

andunderstanding. The relationsamongtheseeventsarenotsimplyreactive,as arethe

encountersofphysicalobjects;theyarenotreadilyamenabletocause-

and-effect"clocklike"modelsor

thebehavioralrepertoriesofelitesandcitizensarenotfixedrepertories.

Theactorsinpoliticshavememories;theylearnfromexperience.They

havegoals,aspirations,calculativestrategies.Memory,learning,goal

seeking,andproblemsolvingintervenebetween"cause"and"effect," betweenindependentanddependentvariable. Politicaldecisionsarenotmadeandimplementedina vacuum;they aresubjecttoa complexarrayofconstraintsand opportunities.These

metaphors.Basically,thisis because

9lbid., 254-55.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

493

constraints-thenecessitiesofpolitics-rangefromtherelativelyhard varietyrepresentedbyenvironmentalorecologicallimitstothequite softvarietyillustratedbypassingfashionsandfads.Constraintsdefine

the"operationalmilieu"ofpoliticalactors'0andexhibitvaryingdegrees

ofmanipulability.Some,likegeographyortheleveloftechnology,are difficulttoaltereveninthelongrun;in theshortrun,theyareprac- ticallynonmanipulable.Others,likeculturalvaluesandpublicopinion, arerelativelyeasyto manipulatein somecircumstances,moreintrac- tableinothers.Butmanipulationisveryrarelyimpossibleinprinciple. Evenrelativelyhardenvironmentalconstraints-suchas therelation betweenmaterialresourceneedsand population-cansometimesbe alteredas a consequenceof man'screative,adaptivecapacities.The agriculturalrevolutionsomeio,oooyearsagomultipliedbymanytimes thenumberofpeoplecapableofbeingsustainedin a givenspace,and theindustrialrevolutionofthelasttwocenturiesmultiplieditbymany

timesagain.

Theseontologicalpropertiesofpoliticalaffairsareplainforall to see;theyarenotmattersonwhichreasonablepersonscandiffer.Social

scientistswho-forwhateverphilosophicalormethodologicalreasons-

denythemand viewhumanbehavioras simplyreactiveand conse- quentlysusceptibletothesameexplanatorylogicas "clocklike"natural

phenomenaaretryingtofashiona sciencebasedonempiricallyfalsified presuppositions.Thatbecomesclearwhentheirexplanatoryschemes arethoughtofin termsoftheirownbehavioras scientists.Insofaras theyacknowledgethe importanceof scientificmemory,scientific creativity,calculativestrategies,goalseeking,andproblemsolvingin theirownwork,theymustinsomedegreeacknowledgethesequalities inthehumanandsocialmaterialtheyinvestigateandseektoexplain. The implicationofthesecomplexitiesofhumanandsocialrealityis thattheexplanatorystrategyofthehardscienceshas onlya limited

applicationtothesocialsciences.Models,procedures,andmethodolo-

giescreatedtoexplorea worldinwhichclocklikeandcloudlikechar- acteristicspredominatewill captureonlya partof themuchricher worldof socialand politicalinteraction.Thus,a simplesearchfor regularitiesandlawfulrelationshipsamongvariables-astrategythat hasled totremendoussuccessesin thephysicalsciences-willnotex- plainsocialoutcomes,butonlysomeoftheconditionsaffectingthose outcomes. Becausethepropertiesofpoliticalrealitydifferfromthoseofphysical

10 HaroldSproutand MargaretSprout,The EcologicalPerspectiveon HumanAffairs

(Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPressI965).

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reality,thepropertiesofpoliticalregularitiesalsodifferfromthoseof physicalregularities.The regularitieswe discoverare soft.Theyare softbecausetheyaretheoutcomesofprocessesthatexhibitplasticrather thancast-ironcontrol.Theyareimbeddedin historyand involvere- current"passings-through"of largenumbersof humanmemories, learningprocesses,humangoal-seekingimpulses,and choicesamong alternatives.The regularitieswe discoverappeartohavea shorthalf- life.Theydecayquicklybecauseofthememory,creativesearching,

andlearningthatunderliethem.Indeed,socialscienceitselfmaycon-

tributeto thisdecay,sincelearningincreasinglyincludesnot only

learningfromexperience,butfromscientificresearchitself. The softnessandhistoricalboundednessofpoliticaltheoriescanbe illustratedbya fewexamples.Politicalscientistsarejustifiablyproud oftheirtheoryofvotingbehavior.It istheclosestthingtoa scientific theorythatwehave.Ithasgenerateda setofwhatappeartobe"cover-
inglaws"-demographicandattitudinalcorrelatesofthevotingdeci-

sion,inductivelyarrivedat. The deductiveDownsianmodelof the

consequencesforpartysystemsofdifferentdistributionsofvoteratti-

tudeslookslikean evenmorebasiclaw ofpolitics.Butevena casual reviewofthefindingsofvotingresearchinthelastthirtyyearsshows howunstabletheseregularitiesare,andhowfarshortofhardscience oureffortstostabilizethemmustinevitablyfall.Modernresearchon

votingbehaviormadeitsgreatestprogressinstudiesofAmericanelec-

tionsintheI950's andearlyi960's, a periodofrapideconomicgrowth and low-intensitypolitics.Studentsof Americanvotingbehaviorin thatperiodmaintainedtheycouldexplainandpredictAmericanvoting behavioronthebasisof"partyidentification"and"candidateimage"; issuesseemedtoplayonlya secondaryrole."Theresultofthiseffortto producea hardcausalexplanationwasa psychologicaltheoryofvoting behaviorbasedon partyidentificationand candidateimage.Butthis theorywassoonto be challengedbystudiesdonein theearlyI970's whichincludedatafromtheI930's andlatei96o's.Theseearlierand laterperiodsshowAmericanvotersas makingtheirchoiceson the basisofcandidates'issuepositionstoa fargreaterextentthanwastrue oftheI950's andearlyi960's. Recentwritersspeakofthe"decomposi- tion"ofthepartysystem,oftheindividuationofvotingbehavior,and

ofthe"ideologization"ofAmericanpolitics.'2Andoneoftheleading

11 Angus Campbelland others,The VoterDecides (Evanston,Ill.: Row Peterson

I954);

Campbelland others,The AmericanVoter(New York:Wileyi960).

12 NormanNie, SidneyVerba,and JohnR. Petrocik,The ChangingAmericanVoter (Cambridge:HarvardUniversityPress I976), 345ff; WalterDean Burnham,Critical Electionsand theMainspringsofAmericanPolitics(New York: Nortoni97o).

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

495

collaboratorsoftheMichigangroupwhichproducedtheoriginalparty-

identificationtheorynow acknowledgesthatthe demographicand attitudinalcorrelatesofvotingbehaviorareonlylooselyrelated,and
thattheonlykindoftheorywecanaspiretois"someorderlyspecifica-

tionoftheconditionsunderwhichtheyvary."'3

Politicalsocializationtheoryis stillengagedin a futileefforttoim- puterelativelyfixedvaluesand weightsto agentsof socialization- family,school,workplace,mediaofcommunication,adultexperiences, andthelike.'4Likevotingresearch,socializationresearchin itsthrust towardparsimoniousscientificexplanationhas overlookedthelarger historicalcontextandtheinherentinstabilityofvariables.Jenningsand Niemi,'5in oneofthemostsophisticatedstudiesofpoliticalsocializa- tioneverundertaken,reportthattheimpactofparentsandteacherson thepoliticalattitudesof highschoolseniorswas surprisinglyweak. Theyfailedtoregisterthefactthatthehighschoolseniorstheywere samplingweretheclassof i965, thefirstcohortof thepost-World

WarII babyboom.Itwasa generationwhichtoa considerableextent socializeditself,anditturnedsocializationtheoryupsidedownin the latei960's byprovidingtheculturalinnovatorsoftheyouthrebellion. Like votingbehaviortheory,socializationtheoryis now slowlyac- knowledgingtheinherentinstabilityofvariables.The impactofthe agentsofsocializationvarieswithchangesin demographicandsocial structure,technology,andpoliticaleventsandissues.All thatwe can aspiretoisa collectionofpropositionsspecifyingtheconditionsunder whichtheseimpactstendtovary. Perhapsthemostvulnerableofthesethrustsintohardsciencewere theeffortsofstudentsofAmericanpoliticsin theearlyi960's to dis- covertherelationshipsbetweenpoliticsandpublicpolicy.Theproblem hadbeensetbyearlierworkwhicharguedthatcharacteristicsofthe politicalsystem-partycompetition,voter participation,apportionment, andthelike-hadimportantconsequencesforpublicpolicyas meas- uredbythelevelofpublicexpenditures,andparticularlybywelfare expenditures.A seriesof statisticalstudiescomparingthepolitical, economic,andpublicpolicycharacteristicsoftheAmericanstatesin theI950's andearlyi960's proceededtodemonstratethatthesepolitical

13 PhilipE. Converse,"PublicOpinionand VotingBehavior,"in Fred I. Greenstein

and Nelson W. Polsby,eds., Handbook of PoliticalScience,IV

Wesley1975), 126.

(Boston: Addison-

14 For a recentreviewof theliterature,see David 0. Sears,"PoliticalSocialization,"

in GreensteinandPolsby(fn.13), 93ff. 15M. KentJenningsand RichardG. Niemi,The PoliticalCharacter of Adolescence

(Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress1974).

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variableshadlittleindependentimpacton thepolicyvariables.When

controlledforlevelofeconomicdevelopment,theeffectofthesepolit-

icaldifferenceswaswashedaway.Thisfindingledtotheremarkable conclusionthateconomicand otherenvironmentalvariablesexplain

publicpolicymuchbetterthanpoliticalvariables.'6

Therearetwoaspectsofthisresearchinpublicpolicythatarenote-

worthyforourpurposes.The firstis theextraordinaryconstrictionof thetimeandspaceperspectivesinthisefforttotesta globalproposition concerningtherelationshipbetweeneconomics,politics,and public policy.The factthattheseweretheAmericanstatesin the1950's-a periodof politicalstability-ratherthanin the 1930's, did notreg-

isteras limitingthekindsof inferencesthatcouldbe drawn.Polit- icalscientistsstudyingtheseproblemsbroughtnohistoricalperspective

tobearontheirresearch-nomemoriesofwar,revolution,anddepres-

sion,andoftheirwell-knownrelationshipstopoliticsandpublicpolicy.

Second,therewasno recognitionofthefactthatenvironmentalvari- ablescannotdirectlyproducepublicpolicy,thatpoliticalchoicemust inthenatureofthecaseintervenebetweenthem,andthathistorically thisinterventionhasbeenverylargeindeed. Socialmobilizationtheoryhassoughttoexplainandpredicttrends towardpoliticization,democratization,and de-ideologizationfrom

trendstowardurbanization,industrialization,communication,andedu-

cation-onlyto discoverthatwhentheserelationshipsare examined historically,humanintractabilityand inventiveness,as well as sheer chance,complicatesthesepatternsenormously.'7The prophetof the

endofideology'8hasbecometheprophetofthepostindustrialsociety'

and,currently,theprophetofsocialdisjunctionsandculturalexhaus-

tion."0 Socialscientistsare finding that they doa better job of

whentheyfollowthecourseofhistory,usingsophisticatedmethodolo-

giesto isolatenecessarysequencesand constraints,butalwaysaware oftheroleofchanceandhumaninventivenessin producingtheout- comestheyareseekingtoexplain. In theirfascinationwithpowerfulregularitiesanduniformitiesthat

havethepropertiesofcausalnecessityorhighprobability,socialscien-

explaining

16 See ThomasR. Dye,UnderstandingPublicPolicy(EnglewoodCliffs,N.J.:Prentice-

Hall I972),

243-48,fora reviewof thisliteratureand a fullerformulationof these

findingsand inferences. 17For a reviewof thisliterature,see GabrielA. Almond,ScottC.

RobertJ.Mundt,eds.,Crisis,Choiceand Change(Boston:LittleBrown

Flanagan,and

I973),

8ff.

I973).

18 Daniel Bell,The End ofIdeology(New York: Free Pressi96o).

'9 Daniel Bell,The ComingofPost-IndustrialSociety(New

20 Daniel Bell, The CulturalContradictionsof Capitalism(New York: Basic Books

York: Free Press

I976).

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

497

tistshaveoverlookedthefactthatmuchofsocialandpoliticalchange

hastobeexplainedneitherbystrongregularitiesnorbyweakregulari-

ties,butbyaccidentalconjunctions-byeventsthathad a lowproba- bilityofoccurring.The concatenationofparticularleaderswithpar- ticularhistoricalcontextsis a matterof chance-offortune-rather thannecessity.ScholarscanexplainwhyRussiawasripeforrevolution in I9I7; andtheycanexplainsomeaspectsofLenin'spersonalityand operationalcode;buttheycannotexplainwhythetwoconjoinedto producetheBolshevikRevolution,onlythattheyconjoinedbychance. The problemis similartothatofthebiologistseekingtoexplainthe emergenceofa newspecies.He can describean ecologicalnichein termsofconstraintsandopportunities;butforthenichetobeoccupied, thechanceoccurrenceofan appropriatemutationorsetofmutations

isrequired.

Althoughin somerespectstheproblemis similarto thatof the biologist,it differsin fundamentalways.The interplaybetweenthe constraintsoftheecologicalnicheandtherandomnessoftheprocessof mutation,tobe sure,is a matteroftrialanderror.The searchprocess is a randomone,and largelygenetic.In humanaffairs,thesearch processinadditionhasimportantconscious,planfulaspects.Itinvolves notonlythechanceconcatenationof a revolutionarypoliticalniche witha Lenin,butwitha scheming,contriving,willing,improvising Lenin,constantlyprobing,testing,andlearningabouttheconstraints andopportunitieswithinthenichehe is strivingtooccupy.Oncehe doesoccupyit,he transformsthenicheandthepopulationoccupying itinwaysthatwillconstrain(butagainnotdetermine)futureadaptive efforts.If we aretounderstandpoliticalreality,we haveto cometo gripsnotonlywithitsdeterminateaspectsbut,mostparticularly,with itscreative,adaptive,problem-solvingaspects.Foritis thislastcharac- teristicwhichistheessentiallyhumanproperty,andwhichistheunique mechanismandexplanatorychallengeofthesocialsciences.

THE CLOCK MODEL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

The nowdominant,"behavioral"'traditioninpoliticalsciencetends torestonthreeepistemologicalandmethodologicalassumptionswhich ithastakenfromthehardsciences:(I) thatthepurposeofscienceis thediscoveryof regularitiesin, and ultimatelylaws of,socialand politicalprocesses;(2) thatscientificexplanationmeansthedeductive subsumptionof individualeventsunder"coveringlaws"; and (3) thattheonlyscientificallyrelevantrelationshipsbetweeneventsin the worldare thosewhichcorrespondto a physicalisticconceptionof

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causalconnection.Theseassumptionsarehighlyinterrelated,andeach

carriesimportantsubstantiveimplicationsforthestudyofpolitics.

(i) The emphasison generalizationsin politicalsciencemustfirst

be understoodin historicalcontext.WhenDavid Eastonarguedin I953 that"knowledgebecomescriticalandreliablewhenit increases in generalityand internallyconsistentorganization,when,in short,

itiscastintheformofsystematicgeneralizedstatementsapplicableto

largenumbersofparticularcases,"'"hewasspeakingagainsta tradition ofideographic,descriptive,noncumulative,andinstitutionalcasestudies thathaddominatedmuchofthediscipline(witha fewnotableexcep- tions)forseveraldecades.A similarconcernanimatedthebehavioral polemicsofTrumanand othersin theearly I95O's.22 The long-term resultofthispraiseworthyattempttoshiftemphasisfromdescription

toexplanation,however,hasbeentheenshriningofthenotionofgen-

eralizationas thesinequa non of thescientificaspirationsof the profession.This is perhapsmostreadilyapparentin the recently burgeoning"scopeandmethods"literature.Forexample,Scarrow,in his ComparativePoliticalAnalysis,announcesthat"Generalizations

are thehallmarkof all scientificendeavor,"23whileConwayand

Feigert,inPoliticalAnalysis:AnIntroduction,declarethat"thefunc-

tionof scienceis generallyperceivedas beingtheestablishmentof generallawsor theorieswhichexplainthebehaviorwithwhichthe particulardisciplineis concerned."24Evena sophisticatedstudy,such as Przeworski'sand Teune'sLogic of ComparativeSocialInquiry, statessomewhatdogmaticallythat:"The pivotalassumptionof this analysisis thatsocialscienceresearch,includingcomparativeinquiry,

shouldand can lead to generalstatementsaboutsocialphenomena. This assumptionimpliesthathumanand socialbehaviorcan be ex- plainedintermsofgenerallawsestablishedbyobservation.Introduced hereas an expressionofpreference,thisassumptionwillnotbe logi-

callyjustified."25

The substantiveimpactof thisemphasison generalizationsis to focustheattentionofresearchonregularities,uniformities,andstable

21 Easton,The PoliticalSystem(New York: Knopf I953), 55.

22 David B. Truman,"The Impacton PoliticalScienceof the Revolutionin the BehavioralSciences,"reprintedin Heinz Eulau, ed.,Behavioralismin PoliticalScience

(New York: Athertoni969).

23 HowardA. Scarrow,ComparativePoliticalAnalysis:An Introduction(New York:

Harper & Row i969), 33.

24 MargaretConway and Frank B. Feigert,Political Analysis:An Introduction (Boston:Allynand Bacon 1972), 17. 25Adam Przeworskiand HenryTeune, The Logic of ComparativeSocial Inquiry (New York:Wiley1970), 4.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

499

patternsofassociationin politicalprocessesat theexpenseofunique

or low-probabilityeventsorpoliticaloutcomes.As Frohockexpresses

itinTheNatureofPoliticalInquiry,"Scienceisconcernedwithestab-

lishingcausalrelationsandgenerallaws.To do thisthesocialscientist mustconcentrateon systematicpatternsofhumanconduct.Onlyas an eventisa recurringinstanceofa generalclasscanitbetreatedscientifi- cally."" We arenotarguingherefortheviewthatregularitiesdo notoccur inpoliticalprocessesorthatvalidgeneralizationscannotbe made.As wenotedabove,politicalregularities-albeitsoft-clearlyexistandare crucialtopoliticalinquiry.Rather,ourcriticismis aimedat positions thatseeregularitiesandgeneralizationsas theonlyproperobjectsof scientificpoliticalinquiry.Thisseemsto us an unnecessarydelimita- tionofthescopeofthediscipline'ssubjectmatter.If politicalreality isbestviewedasa conjunctionofchoiceandconstraint,andasa source ofbothregularityandinnovation,thenpoliticalscienceshouldnotbe limitedtoa considerationofonlypartofthisreality.A purefocuson generalizationsas"thehallmarkofallscientificendeavor"wouldseem tocondemnittojustsucha limitation.

(2) Theconcernwithgeneralizationsandregularities-andthecon- comitantwillingnesstolimitthescopeofpoliticalsciencetoonlythose aspectsofpoliticalrealitythataregeneralizable-iscloselyassociated witha particularconceptionofexplanationin politicalinquiry.This positionis alsoreflectedin the"scopeand methods"literature.Alan

Isaak,inhisScopeandMethodofPoliticalScience,declaresthatpolit- icalscientistsmustacceptthe"scientificfactoflife"that"everysound

explanationandpredictioncontainsatleastonegeneralization;without

generalizationstherecouldbe no explanationsorpredictions."27Simi- larly,ConwayandFeigertarguethat"Explanationsin sciencerequire

lawsortheorieswhicharewellestablished

Explanationoccurs

whenthefactstobeexplainedcanbededucedas a logicalconsequence

ofthelawsortheoryand

The modelofexplanationalludedtohereis theso-called"covering law"ordeductive-nomological(D-N) modeldevelopedinthephiloso-

phyofsciencebyR. B. Braithwaite,29CarlHempel,30andothers.The

otherknownfacts."28

26 Fred M. Frohock,The Nature of PoliticalInquiry (Homewood, Ill.:

I967),

14I.

Dorsey

27 Isaak, The Scope and Method of PoliticalScience (Homewood, Ill.:

i969), 8o.

Dorsey

28 ConwayandFeigert(fn.24), 27.

29 Braithwaite,ScientificExplanation(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPressI953).

30 Hempel,Aspects ofScientificExplanation(New York: Free PressI965); see also ErnestNagel,The Structure of Science(New York:Harcourt,Braceand Worldi96i).

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WORLD POLITICS

basicideaunderlyingthismodelis thatsomethingis explainedwhen ithasbeenshowntobe a memberofa moregeneralclassofthings. "To explainsomethingistoexhibititasa specialcaseofwhatisknown ingeneral.""3Thisis achieved,accordingtothemodel,whenthepar- ticularcaseis deducedfroma moregenerallaw (or setoflaws) that "covers"itandall otherrelevantlysimilarcases.Thatiswhygenerali- zationsplaysucha fundamentalrolein deductiveexplanations. TheexplanatorypoweroftheD-N modelderivesfromthefactthat deductionfromcoveringlawslogicallynecessitatesthatwhichis de- duced.Thededuction"explains"bytellingusthat,onthebasisofwhat we alreadyknow(thegeneralization),thecasein questionwastobe

expected:ithadtooccurthewayitdid.32Thisnotionof"itwastobe

expected"standsatthecenterofthedeductiveconceptionofexplana-

tion,and accountsforthecloseassociationbetweenexplanationand predictioninthemodel.33ForadherentsoftheD-N model,anexplana- tionthatwouldnotbe equallycapableof supportinga prediction wouldnotqualifyasa trueexplanation.34Itisnotsurprising,therefore, thatcloseddeterministicsystems-"clockmodels"in Popper'stermi-

nology-aremostamenabletoD-N explanation.As Hempelputsit:

"ThebestexamplesofexplanationsconformingtotheD-N modelare

basedon physicaltheoriesofdeterministiccharacter

specifiedbysucha theoryforthechangesofstatearedeterministicin thesensethat,giventhestateofthatsystematanyonetime,theydeter- mineitsstateatanyother,earlierorlater,time."35

[T]he laws

It is clearthattheD-N modellosesitsusefulnesstothedegreethat thereareexceptionstothelaworlawswarrantingtheexplanationin

question.Ifwecannotlegitimatelymaintainthat"allA's

mustsettlefora law assertingonlythat"someA's areB's,"thenthe deductivelinkisdissolvedandourexplanationoftheoccurrenceofB continuestobeproblematic.Thisstateofaffairs,however,isjustwhat isimpliedbythenotionofplasticcontrol.Plasticitymeansthatwe can

areB's" and

31 AbrahamKaplan,The Conductof Inquiry(San Francisco:Chandler 1964), 339.

32Ibid

33 Paul Diesing,Patterns of Discoveryin theSocialSciences(Chicago:AldineAther-

tonI97I), 164.

See Hempel (fn. 30), 367,wherethispositionis maintainedwhile its obverse- thata validpredictionmustalso qualifyas an explanation-isputaside.This modifica- tionof theso-called"symmetrythesisof explanationand prediction"has not always beenappreciatedbypoliticalscientists.See,e.g.,OranYoung,"The Perilsof Odysseus:

On ConstructingTheoriesin InternationalRelations,"in RaymondTanterand Richard Ullman, eds., Theoryand Policy in InternationalRelations(Princeton:Princeton UniversityPress1972), 183.

35 Hempel (fn. 30), 351; see also Nagel (fn. 30), 323.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

501

expect,in principle,thattherewillbe exceptionsto anygeneralizations we mightformaboutthephenomenathatare of interestto us. Thus, themoreour subjectmatterexhibitsplasticcontrol,thelessit will be amenableto simpleD-N explanations.

(3) The notionof causalityis closelyassociatedwith the idea of covering-lawexplanationby bothpoliticalscientistsand philosophers ofscience.R. B. Braithwaite,forexample,describescausalitystrictlyin termsof coveringlaws: "[T]he statementthatsomeparticularevent

is theeffectofa setofcircumstancesinvolvestheassertionofa general

law; to ask forthecauseofan eventis alwaysto ask fora generallaw whichappliesto theparticularevent."36 This formulationis echoedbypoliticalscientists.Thus,RobertDahl arguesthat"Ifwe wishtoexplainan event,E, in a strictlycausalman- ner,we considerE as an effectand bringitundersomegeneralization of theform:'EveryeventC is accompaniedlaterby an eventE.'

The C is called the cause,E the effect."37Similarly,Isaak maintains that,"If sayingthat'A causesB' is tantamountto 'B alwaysfollowsA,'

thentheyare bothreducibleto 'If A, thenB.' In

expresswhat is traditionallyknownas

using the termcause."38

otherwords,we can

a causal relationshipwithout

All of thesecharacterizationsreston

the notionof causalityas an

explanatoryconcept.But how is thisexplanatorystatusacquired?As canbe seenfromevena cursoryexposuretotheliteratureon causation and conditions,39theconcepts"cause" and "effect"are broadand am- biguous.One elementof theirmeaningseemsto stand out in any

account,however:the principleof "same cause, same effect."40As

Hempel puts it, "as is suggestedby the principle'same cause,same effect,'theassertionthat[a givensetof] circumstancesjointlycaused

a giveneventimpliesthatwheneverand wherevercircumstancesof

36 Braithwaite(fn.29), 2; seealsoHempel(fn.30), 348-49.

37Dahl, "Cause and Effectin the Studyof Politics,"in Daniel Lerner,ed., Cause

andEflect(New York:FreePress i965),

87.

38 Isaak (fn.27), 95.

39 See, e.g., ErnestSosa, Causationand Conditionals(Oxford: OxfordUniversity

Press I975);

Press i976).

40 There are manydisputesconcerningthephilosophicalstatusof causalitythatgo well beyondthis consensualelementof its meaning-forexample,the problemof whetherthe causal connectionrepresentsa constantconjunction,logicalnecessity,or "natural"necessity;and theproblemof thetemporalorderingand contiguityof causes and effects.For a discussionof thesein termsrelevantto politicalscienceresearch,see Georg Henrik von Wright,Explanationand Understanding(Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell

MylesBrand,ed., The Nature of Causation(Urbana:UniversityofIllinois

UniversityPressI971).

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WORLD POLITICS

thekindinquestionoccur,an eventofthekindtobe explainedtakes place."'"Or,inAbrahamKaplan'sslightlymorecautiousformulation:

"Causalconnectionis usuallyanalyzedin termsof somerelationof implication:thegrammarofthe'if-then'conjunctionisatleasta start-

ingpoint.Ifthecauseoccurs,thenitseffectsoccur."42Itisthiselement

of"samecause,sameeffect"thatconfersexplanatorypoweron causal relationsintheworld.Withoutit,"causality"becomessimplyanother problematicand essentiallyunexplainedrelationshipbetweentwoor morethings,events,orprocesses. Thisphilosophicalcharacterizationoftherelationshipbetweencause andeffectiscloselyrelatedtoPopper'snotionofcast-ironcontrol.The

causeproducestheeffect,andtheexistenceofthecauseistheexplana-

tionoftheeffect.A worldofpurecauseandeffect,asnarrowlydefined bythisidentificationofcausalitywithcovering-lawexplanation,would be a worldwithoutexceptions,a worldthatcouldnotbe otherthan whatitis.Sucha world,we feel,is completelyaliento theworldof politics,inwhichthepotentialforsurpriseandinnovationis inherent in many,ifnotmost,situations. In spiteoftheinflexibilityandaridityoftheexplanatoryconceptof causality,however,manypoliticalscientistshaveattemptedto couch theiranalysesofpoliticalphenomenain termsofthenotionsofcause andeffect.Theresultisoftenanoddmixtureofformalizeddefinitions andunrelatedempiricalsubstance.Asanexampleofsucha mixture,we mighttakea brieflookatonebranchofpoliticalanalysisthathasmade considerableuseofcausalformulations-theliteratureontheconceptof power.Heretherelationshipofcauseandeffectisexplicitlyinvokedasa metaphorfora necessary,dependentconnectionbetweenevents.Forex- ample,HerbertSimonhasstatedthat"fortheassertion'C haspower overR,'wecansubstitutetheassertion'C'sbehaviorcausesR'sbehavior.' Ifwecandefinethecausalrelation,we candefineinfluence,poweror

authority,andviceversa."" Similarly,AndrewMcFarlandassertsthat "definitionsof poweror influencebasedon suchconceptsas force,

incentivesorutilities,andminimum winning coalitionsare

to causalterms."44Morerecently,JackNagelhas definedpoweras follows:"A powerrelation,actualorpotential,isan actualorpotential causalrelationbetweenthepreferencesofan actorregardingan out-

reducible

41 Hempel (fn. 30), 348-49.

42 Kaplan,"NoncausalExplanation,"in Lerner (fn.37), 146.

43 Simon,Models of Man (New York:

44McFarland,Powerand Leadershipin

Wiley1957), 5.

Pluralist Systems(Stanford:StanfordUni-

versityPress i969), 29.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

503

comeandtheoutcomeitself."45AndRobertDahl,inthelatestedition

of hisModernPoliticalAnalysis,seemsto maintain(althoughwith somecaveats)hislong-standingviewthatcausationis fundamentalto understandingpowerand influencerelations:"whenwe singleout influencefromall otheraspectsofhumaninteractionin ordertogive itspecialattention,whatinterestsusandwhatwefocusattentionon is thatoneormoreofthepersonsinthisinteractiongetwhattheywant, oratleastgetclosertowhattheywant,bycausingotherpeopletoactin someparticularway.We wanttocallattentiontoa causalrelationship betweenwhatA wantsandwhatB does."46

How istheword"cause"beingusedin thesedefinitions?Clearlyit is notbeingusedas an explanatoryconcept,in thesensedescribedby philosophersofscience.Foran explanationtobe trulycausalin that sense,as we haveseen,therelationshipin questionwouldhavetobe

(i) cast-iron,(2) generalizable,and (3) amenableto covering-law

explanation.Noneofthesepropertieswouldseemto applyto power relationships.Thereis no "necessity"inherentin theoutcomeof an attemptto assertpoweroveranotherperson,as thereis in a causal connectionbetweentwophysicalobjects.The targetof the power attemptmay,foranynumberofreasons,actdifferentlythanthepower wielderwouldhavehimact.Thisisbecausea powerrelationshipdoes notinvolvecast-ironcontrol;instead,itisaninteractionoftwochoosing and mutuallyconstrainingindividuals,eachwithhisown resources, goals,purposes,interests,and strategies.The intentionsandresources ofthefirstcertainlyconstrainthechoicesand actionsofthesecond,

buttheydo notdeterminethosechoicesandactionsinanysortofcast- ironsense. This"loosenessoffit"betweenthebehaviorandintentionsofactors involvedinan attempttoexercisepowermeansthattheirrelationship isnotreadilygeneralizable;neitherisitparticularlyamenabletostrict
covering-lawexplanation.AsHartandHonorehaveputit:"Thestate-

anotherthreatened

mentthatonepersondid

him,carriesnoimplicationorcovertassertionthatifthecircumstances wererepeated,thesameactionwouldfollow;nordoessucha statement

requireforitsdefense,as ordinarycausalstatementsdo,a generaliza-

tion

"

Theseconsiderationsleadus to concludethatthepower

45Nagel,The DescriptiveAnalysisof Power (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress

1975),

29.

46Dahl, ModernPoliticalAnalysis(3rd ed.; EnglewoodCliffs,N.J.: Prentice-Hall 1976), 30; emphasisin original. 47H. L. A. Hart and A. M. Honore,Causationin the Law (Oxford:Clarendon

Press1959), 52.

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relationshipis notcausal,at leastnotin theexplanatorysenseofthe

term.48

Thisconclusionwouldseem,inonesense,tobe sharedbyDahl and manyoftheotherpoliticalscientistswhousecausallanguagein their definitionofpower.Ifwe examinetheirempiricalanalysesofpower relationsinreal-worldpoliticalsituationsratherthantheirdefinitions, we findcarefulandpreciseexaminationsofthecomplexinteractions thatcontributetooutcomes,withoutrelianceon simplisticnotionsof "samecause,sameeffect."In suchsubstantiveanalyses-asopposedto definitionmaking-plasticityis recognizedand indeterminatenessis oftenhandledwithsophisticationand insight. Whatweseemtoobserveinthisparticularareaofpoliticalresearch, then,is a rhetoricalor metaphorical-ratherthanexplanatory-usage ofcausallanguageinformalizationsanddefinitions.Thisaccountsfor thelack of a subsequentcommitmentto actualcausalanalysisin substantiveresearch.The somewhatincongruousgapcanperhapsbest be explainedas an attemptonthepartofpoliticalscientiststocreatea "haloeffect"aroundtheirtheoreticalformulations.Our longingfor fullscientificstatushasledustocreatea kindof"cargocult,"fashion- ingcardboardimitationsofthetoolsandproductsofthehardsciences in thehopethatourincantationswouldmakethemreal.

Thesethreeelementsoftheimplicitlogicthatinformsmuchofpolit-

icalscienceresearchtodayappeartoimplya substantivemodelofthe politicalworldwhichcloselyresemblesthedeterministic"clockmodel"

outlinedbyPopper.Thatisnottosaythatanypoliticalscientistsactu-

allyseethepoliticalworldthisway;no doubtwewouldall agreethat itoftenappearstobequiteporous,irregular,andunpredictable.Rather, it is to saythatthearsenalof meta-methodologicalprinciplesand procedureswe haveborrowedfromthephysicalsciences-or,more correctly,froma certainphilosophicalperspectiveon the physical sciences-hascometouswithan arrayofsubstantiveassumptionsthat all proclaimtheprinciple"allcloudsareclocks."Ifwe searchonlyfor generalizationsandregularitiesin politicalprocesses,ifwe couchour explanationsonlyintermsofthecovering-lawmodel,andifwe view politicalrelationshipsas ultimatelycausalin nature,we arecommit- tingourselves-whetherwe recognizeitor not-to a disciplinaryre- searchprogramdesignedto stripawaythecloudlikeand purposive aspectsof politicalrealityin orderto exposeits "true"clocklike structure.Ifpoliticsis notclocklikein itsfundamentalstructure,then

48 For furtherargumentsalong similarlines,see TerenceBall, "Power,Causation

and Explanation,"Polity,viii

(Winter1975),

I89-214.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

505

thewholeprogramisinappropriate.We believethistobethecase:the

currentquandaryinpoliticalsciencecantoa largeextentbeexplained
bythefactthat,bythemselves,"clock-model"assumptionsareinappro-

priatefordealingwiththesubstanceofpoliticalphenomena.

THE ADOPTION OF THE CLOCK MODEL AND ITS EFFECTS ON POLITICAL

RESEARCH AND PEDAGOGY

Themovementtowardhardscienceinthestudyofpoliticsisa phase inthescientificrevolutionofthelastseveraldecades.The greatbreak-

throughsin physicsand biology,and theextraordinaryincreasesin researchfundingas sciencebecamea nationalasset,createda mood of sanguineexpectations.It is notsurprisingthatpoliticalscientists soughtto sharein thisexcitingandremunerativeadventure. Politicalsciencewas invitedto imitatethehardsciencesby some of themoreinfluentialphilosophersof scienceon thegroundsthat politicalrealitylentitselftothesamepowerfulmethodsthathadproven so effectivein physicsandbiology.Thatis oneofthebasictenetsof thelogicalpositivisttraditionin thephilosophyofscience,49and has beena startingpointformanybooksandarticlesdesignedtoshowthe socialsciencesandhistoryhowtoachievea "truly"scientificstatus.50 In addition,therewasimmediateevidenceofthesuccessofthehard- sciencestrategywithinthesocialsciencesthemselves.Psychologyand economicshadbeenthefirstdisciplinesin thesocialsciencestomove

inthisdirection,demonstratingthepossibilitiesofexperimentalmeth-

ods, sophisticatedquantitativemethods,computersimulation,and mathematicalmodelling.The combinationof philosophicallegitima- tionandthedemonstratedprogressofpsychologyandeconomicswas impossibletoresist. As a consequenceoftheselegitimationsanddemonstrationeffects,

theincentivestructureofpoliticalsciencebegantoencourageanorienta-

tionmodelledon thephysicalsciences.The pressuresforconformity canbemeasuredintermsofprestige,journalpublications,fellowships, and grants.Majorsourcesofresearchfundingand graduatefellow- ships,suchas theNationalScienceFoundation,havebeendominated by thehardsciences;thesocialsciencedivisionshavebeenjunior

49See vonWright(fn.40), chap.i.

50See, e.g., Nagel (fn. 30); Hempel (fn. 30), chap. 9;

May Brodbeck, "Explanation,

Prediction,and 'Imperfect'Knowledge,"in HerbertFeigl and GroverMaxwell,eds., MinnesotaStudiesin the Philosophy of Science: Vol. 3 (Minneapolis:Universityof MinnesotaPressI962); RichardS. Rudner,Philosophy of Social Science(Englewood Cliffs,N.J.:Prentice-HallI966); Rudner,"Comment:On theEvolvingStandardView in PhilosophyofScience,"AmericanPoliticalScienceRetview,Vol. 66 (September I972).

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partnersintheseagencies,andthepoliticalsciencesectionhasbeenthe mostjuniorof all. Projectsthathavetheappearanceof hardscience havehadtheinsidetrackforgainingsubstantialresearchsupport. Perhapsthemostimportantconsequenceof thisimitationofhard sciencehasbeenan emphasison methodas theprimarycriterionfor judgingthequalityofresearchinpoliticalscience.Today,theleading researchtraditionstendtobedefinedbytheirmethodologiesratherthan theirsubstantivefoci.One resultof thisprincipleoforganization- althoughcertainlynota necessaryconsequenceofit-hasbeenthatthe valueof thisworkseemsto be measuredprimarilyby itstechnical virtuosity,and onlysecondarilyby theimportanceof theproblems treatedorilluminated. In thelasttwodecadestherehasbeena tremendousdrivetoward quantificationin politicalscience.Rikercelebratedthistrendin a recentcommunicationtotheAmericanPoliticalScienceReviewwhen he commentedthatsometwo-thirdsofthearticlesin recentissuesof thatjournalwerebasedon quantitativeanalysisemployingsophisti-

catedstatistics.5'Quantificationhasundoubtedlycontributedtomajor

advancesin politicalscienceandothersocialsciences.Butit has also led to a significantnumberofpseudo-scientificexercisesthatexhibit theformbutnotthesubstanceof researchin thephysicalsciences. Suchstudiesbecomemoreprevalentwhentheuseofquantificationis treatedasanendinitselfratherthanasa meanstowardunderstanding concretepoliticalproblems.Irrelevantquantificationhasrecentlybeen thesubjectofsearchingcritiquesin internationalrelations,52compara-

tivepolitics,5"policystudies,54andelsewhere.

Quantitativeanalysisin politicalsciencehas movedincreasingly towardmoresophisticatedstatisticalmethods.Butthestructureofthe data in socialscienceresearchoftencomesintoconflictwiththe assumptionsunderlyingconfirmatorystatisticaltheory.The problems involvedin applyingcomplexstatisticalmethodstononrandom,non- linear,or nonadditivedatashouldnotbe minimized.55Muchof the

51WilliamH.

Riker,quoted in "EditorialComment,"AmericanPoliticalScience

733-34.

Review,Vol. 68 (June1974),

52EdwardR. Tufte,"ImprovingData Analysisin PoliticalScience,"WorldPolitics,

xxi

(July i969).

53 AndrewMack,"NumbersAreNot Enough,"ComparativePolitics,vii

(JulyI975).

54 RalphE. Strauch,"A CriticalLook at QuantitativeMethodology,"PolicyScience,

ii (Winter1976). 55 See, e.g.,HaywardR. Alker,"The Long Road to InternationalRelationsTheory:

Problemsof StatisticalNonadditivity,"WorldPolitics,xviII (July1966); HubertM. Blalock, "CorrelatedIndependentVariables:The Problemof Multicollinearity,"in EdwardR. Tufte,ed., The QuantitativeAnalysisof Social Problems(Reading,Mass.:

Addison-Wesley1970).

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

507

inferentialpowerofthesemethodsis lostwhenthestructureof the datadoesnotconformtotherigidrequirementsofthetheory.These difficultieshaveprovenformidableenoughto lead somestatisticians, suchas JohnTukey,at Princeton,to devisealternativedata-analytic techniquesthat,althoughnotnearlyas powerfulas themostadvanced

statisticalmethods,aremorecompatiblewiththeidiosyncraticcharac-

teristicsofsocialandpoliticaldata.56Herewe seemtohavefalleninto a trapcomparabletothatoftheearlyphasesofThird-Worlddevelop- mentwhen"hightechnologies"wereintroducedintopooragricultural countrieswithoutregardfortheirdisruptiveconsequences.We are discoveringthatan intermediatelevelofstatisticaltechnology,which takesintoaccountthespecialcharacteristicsof socialdata,is more appropriateto the social sciencesthanare the verysophisticated

methods. Runningparallelto thisemphasison statisticsin politicalscience is an interestin mathematicsandtheconstructionofsimple,logically rigorousmodels.This approachhas beenadvocatedin comparative politicsbyHolt and Richardson,whoarguethat"politicalscientists

mustturntomathematics"ifthedisciplineis toprogressscientifically. Theyarecarefultodistinguishthispathfromthestatisticalone: "In makingan appealformoremathematics,we arenottalkingabout

statistics .

induction.Our critiquesuggeststhatthecryingneedin comparative politicsisformorerigorousdeductionandthisis wheremathematics, not statistics,is relevant."57This statementis echoedby A. James Gregor,OranYoung,"andmany others.

Thedifficultywithmathematicalmodelsisthattheyusuallymeasure up poorlytothecomplexitiesofthephenomenabeingmodelled.For example,OranYoung,whostronglyadvocatestheuse ofmodelling methodsin internationalrelations,has candidlyobservedthat"The inherenthazardofthisprocedureisthatitsproductsmaydisplaylittle relevancetotherealworldofinternationalrelationsfortheindefinite future."59HoltandRichardson,ontheotherhand,arguethata mathe- maticallyorientedpoliticalsciencemustnecessarilytakea radically

[S]tatisticsprovidesa sciencewitha basisforrigorous

56 Tukey,ExploratoryData Analysis(Reading,Mass.: Addison-Wesley i977);

C. Hoaglin,A

David

FirstCoursein Data Analysis(Reading,Mass.: Addison-Wesley,forth-

coming).

57 RobertT. Holt and JohnM. Richardson,Jr.,"CompetingParadigmsin Compara-

tivePolitics,"in Holt and JohnE.

Research(New York:FreePress1970), 70. 58 Gregor,"PoliticalScienceand theUsesofFunctionalAnalysis,"AmericanPolitical

Science Review, Vol. 62 (June i968), 425-39; Young (fn. 34).

Turner,eds., The Methodologyof Comparative

59 Ibid.) i96.

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circumscribedviewofpoliticalreality,cuttingitselffreefromproblem solving:"A sciencethatisheavilycommittedtodealingwithsocially andmorallyrelevantproblemsfindslittleuseforthiskindofparadigm or forthecommitmenttomathematicsthatit requires.For political

sciencetoadvance,itmustshedthisprofessionalcommitmenttosolv- ingsocialandmoralproblems."6"

Oneaspectofthemathematicalapproachtopoliticsdeservesspecial mention:theuseofrational-choicemodelstoexplainpoliticalbehavior. Thesemodelsareparticularlyinterestingbecausetheytakethemost intractableelementsofpoliticalprocesses-theindividualandcollective choicesofpoliticalactors-andtrytotreatthemdeterministically.Some analystshavearguedthatifpoliticalscienceisevertobea truescience, thenotionofrationalitymustbeitscentralconcept.Forexample,Riker and Ordeshookdrawan explicitanalogybetweenrationalityon the onehandandthenotionofmechanismon theother:

itisclearthattheassumptionofrationalityandtheassumptionof

mechanismplaycomparablerolesintheexplanationofthesocialand

physicalworld.Themechanicalassumptionsassertthatthereis some- thingaboutthingsthatassuresustheywill(usually)moveregularly,

andtherationalityassumptionassertsthatthereis

peoplethatmakesthembehave(usually)in a regularway.In each

case,thefunctionistogeneralizeabouttheregularity.61

somethingabout

The kindofregularitiesRikerand Ordeshookareconcernedwith hereareofa specialtype-"postulated"as opposedto"observed"regu- larities.Grantingthatchoicesin empiricalsituationsusuallyfailto exhibitthedegreeof regularitynecessaryforwarrantingdeductive explanationsand theories,Rikerand Ordeshookchooseto builda theoryofpoliticsonthefoundationsofhowpeoplewouldactifthey wererationalutilitymaximizers.This,ofcourse,leadstoa theorythat failstomodelpoliticalrealitywell.Butthesubstantivelossisconsidered acceptableinlightofthemethodologicalgain:"Themethodofpostu- latedregularityis positivelymoreefficient,becauseitpermitstheeasy generationofhypothesesandoffersa singleandparsimoniousexplana-

tionofbehavior."62

60 Holt and Richardson(fn.57), 70-71. 61 WilliamH. Rikerand PeterC. Ordeshook,An Introductionto PositivePolitical

Theory(Englewood Cliffs,N.J.: Prentice-Hall1973), ii. A sympatheticyet sober evaluationoftheutilityofrationalchoicemodelsforexplainingandpredictingcoalition behavioris offeredby AbramDe Swann,CoalitionTheoriesand CabinetFormations (San Francisco:Jossey-Bass1973).

62Riker and Ordeshook(fn. 6i), 11-12.

By "explanation,"we can onlyassumethat

Rikerand Ordeshookmean "definition,"sincethepostulationof rationalitydefinesa

(hypothetical)typeof behavior,butdoes notexplainit in anyway.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

509

The popularityofrational-choicemodelsin politicalsciencewould bepuzzlingtoanyonewhowasnotfamiliarwiththecurrenthierarchy ofmethodologicalandsubstantiveprioritiesin thefield.Butwiththis hierarchyin mind,someparticularlyperplexingexercisesbecomeun- derstandable.For example,in therecentlypublishedHandbookof PoliticalScience,J.DonaldMooncontributesa pieceon "The Logic
ofPoliticalInquiry."6"Thisarticlebeginsverypromisinglybyarticu-

latingtheD-N modelofexplanationaswellasanimportantalternative to it,theinterpretivemodel,whichexplainsbehaviorin termsof motives,intentions,rulesand norms,etc.Notingseriousdefectsin bothmodels,Moonturnstothetaskofsynthesizingthetwoin order to createa morecomprehensiveframeworkforpoliticalexplanation. Butthe"synthesis"turnsoutnotto be a synthesisat all; insteadit consistsofa substitutionof a rationalactor"modelofman"forthe interpretivemodelofexplanation.Thiseliminatesthe"looseness"and lackofregularityofempiricalchoicethatis capturedbytheinterpre- tivemodeland substitutesforit "presuppositions[that]specifythe decisionalpremisesoftheactorswhich,togetherwithdescriptionsof

theirsituations,providetherationalefortheactionswhichbringabout

theoverallpatternof

explain."64

LiketheregularitiesofinteresttoRikerandOrdeshook,these"pre-

suppositions"arepostulated(specified)a prioi.Theyreplacethecon- tingentaspectsofempiricalchoiceandactionwithcausalandlawlike assumptions.Thus,choicesarereducedto an algorithmspecifyinga necessaryoutcomefroma necessaryutilitycalculation.The netresult ofthissubstantivereductionis a definitionofchoiceintermsofcause- and-effectrelationships;whichis to say,a definitionof choicethat deniestheexistenceofchoice!Certainlythisconclusionwouldappear strangeifwe werenotfamiliarwiththecurrentpriorityofmethod oversubstancein politicalscience.As it is,we can seethatMoonis

strugglingwiththetaskoffittinghisrecalcitrantsubjectmattertothe strictexigenciesofa methodologicalnotionofnecessitythatbearslittle resemblancetotherealitiesofpoliticalchoice.

theoristsdesireto

Thestressonreductionistexplanation,quantification,andformaliza-

tionhasalsoledtoan overloadingofgraduatecurricula.If a political scientistmustbe a statistician,psychologist,andsociologist,thensome ofthetraditionalcurriculumhastobesetasideinordertomakeroom

63 Moon,"The Logic of PoliticalInquiry:A Synthesisof OpposedPerspectives,"in Greensteinand Polsby(fn. IA I.

14Ibid., I94.

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forthesenewerdisciplinesand techniques.Anyonewhohas taught in a majorgraduatedepartmentofpoliticalsciencein thelasttwenty yearswillrecallthisinexorableprocessofnarrowingandtechnicizing of thecurriculum;theforeign-languagerequirementshavebeenre- duced,thefieldexaminationrequirementshavedroppedfromfiveto fourtothree,perhapsevento two.Bythemid-ig6o's, ithad become possibleforsomeonetobecomea Ph.D.in politicalsciencewithlittle ifanyknowledgeofpoliticaltheory,politicalhistory,foreignpolitical systems,internationalrelations,andevenmuchaboutAmericanpolitics andgovernment.AsHaywardAlkerhasrecentlyremarked:"Training graduatestudentsintensivelyinmultivariatequantitativemethodssuch as factoranalysismakeslesstimeavailablefordevelopinga sophisti- catedawarenessofwhathasclassicallybeenthoughtand saidabout

politicallife

understandingmodernpoliticsinwhichmanyquestionsaboutsystems

restructuringarecontinuallyraised."65

Accompanyingthisnarrowingand technicizationof thegraduate curriculumhasbeena demoralizationof theolderintellectualtradi-

tionsinthesocialsciencesandinpoliticalscience.Politicaltheoryand philosophy,publiclaw andpublicadministration,anddescriptivein- stitutionalanalysishaveallbecomedefensive,peripheral,andsecondary subjectmatters.Asa result,a largepartofthepoliticalsciencetradition isnolongerbeingtransmittedeffectivelytoyoungergenerations. Whatwe suggesthereis that"science"is nota setofmethodsex- tractedfrommathematicalphysics,as theneopositivistphilosophers mighthaveus believe;itis ultimatelya commitmentto exploreand attempttounderstanda givensegmentofempiricalreality.Themeans employedinpursuingthisgoalshouldbesecondary:in"good"science, methodsarefittothesubjectmatterratherthansubjectmatterbeing truncatedor distortedin orderto fitit to a preordainednotionof "scientificmethod."Thisisthelessonthatsocialscientistsshouldhave learnedfromthephysicalsciences.Instead,theyhaveignoreditand, intheprocess,haveunderminedwhatAbrahamKaplanhascalledthe "autonomyofinquiry.""If socialscienceis to redeemitself,"Social scientistsneedto constructtheirownnotionsof 'goodscience,'their ownmethodologicalapproachappropriateto theirparticularsubject

matter

Thusmoderntrainingisparticularlyinappropriatefor

Thisviewimpliesgivingup thenotionthatthereis some

65 Alker, "Polimetrics:Its DescriptiveFoundations," in Greensteinand

(fn. I3), VII, I57.

66

Kaplan (fn.31), 3.

Poisby

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

511

closeanalogyin thesocialsciencesto basicresearchin thephysical

sciences."67

SECOND THOUGHTS IN PSYCHOLOGY AND ECONOMICS

Muchof theknowledgeourdisciplinehas acquiredof "scientific method"hasbeenfilteredthroughthetwo"pace-setting"disciplinesin socialscience-psychologyand economics.If we lookcloselyat the presentstateof thesedisciplineswhichhavepioneeredin theuse of statisticalmethods,mathematicalmodels,and experimentation,we findevidenceofsomedoubtanddisillusionment.

Psychology,muchlikepoliticalscience,hasoverthelastcoupleof decadesentertaineda nearlyconstant"greatdebate"concerningthe conceptualand methodologicalprinciplesunderlyingthediscipline. How shouldman,as thesubjectmatterofpsychology,be conceptual- ized? Whatkindofknowledgeshouldpsychologyhopetoacquire,and howcanthisknowledgebestbepursued?Lately,someparticipantsin

thisdebatehavebecomemoreandmorecriticaloftheestablishedortho-

doxyand havebegunto questionpreviouslysacrosanctassumptions.

Thesecriticsarenottheinevitabledissentingminorityinanydiscipline, butincludesomeoftherecognizedleadersin theprofession-leaders who,in fact,havebeeninstrumentalin creatingtheveryconceptions theynowquestion. The problemofthe"imageofman"in psychologyhasbeentaken up manytimes.A particularlytrenchantand luciddiscussionwas

offeredbyIsidorCheinin

forthePsychologicalStudyofSocialIssues.Cheinarguedthat"among theprevailingimageofManis-thatofan impotent

reactor,withitsresponsescompletelydeterminedbytwodistinctand

separate,albeitinteracting,setsoffactors:(i) theforcesimpingingon

itand(2) itsconstitution(includinginthelatterterm

psychologicalstates)."68He heldthatthisimageisobviouslyfalse,that

psychologistscanclingtoitonly"byviolatingourcardinalobligation

asscientists-tomaintainfaithinoursubjectmatter,tosupportscrupu-

louslythatwhichwe observe,and to observefullywithoutwillful

bias."69

hisi962

presidentialaddresstotheSociety

momentary

Whatthisimagedenies,andwhatobservationclearlyatteststo,is

67 MarcJ.Roberts,"On theNatureand Conditionof Social Science,"Daedalus,Vol.

I03

(SummerI974),

6i, 62.

68 Chein,"The Image of Man," Journal of Social Issues, xviii (Octoberi962), 3.

69 Ibid. Similarargumentsare made in Rom Harreand P. F. Secord,The Explana-

tionof Social Behavior(Totowa, N.J.:Rowmanand

LittlefieldI972).

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WORLD POLITICS

thatmanis"anactive,responsibleagent,notsimplya helpless,power- lessreagent."Cheincontinues:"I amsayingthatweshouldnotpermit ourselvestobe seduced,as so manyofus havebeen,bythosepreten- tioushighorderconceptualizationsofPsychologythatwoulddenyMan thequalitythatis inalienablyhis,thequalityoffreedom-and,in the denial,makeMan,as a psychologicalagent,inaccessible."70 This argumentbearsa strongresemblanceto Popper's.The deter- ministassumptionof"cast-ironcontrol"overchoiceandactionisrejected fora conceptionthatallowsfortheautonomyof humanactionin creating,as wellas in respondingto,theworld.Interestinglyenough, Cheinclaimstobe a determinist-inthesenseofviewingeveryevent as havingnecessaryandsufficientconditions-butarguesthatmotives

andpurposesshareinthedeterminationofhumanactions,thusbring-

ingthemunderdirecthumancontrol.LikePopper,therefore,Cheinis concernedwiththequestionofhow"mentalevents"suchas purposes, deliberations,plans,etc.,canplaya partin bringingaboutchangein thephysicalworld. In hispresidentialaddressbeforetheAmericanPsychologicalAsso- ciationin i975,DonaldCampbellcalledonpsychologiststoshowa bit ofepistemichumility,andtorecognizethat"allscientificknowledgeis indirect,presumptive,obliquelyandincompletelycorroboratedatbest." He wentontoarguethatreductionisminpsychologymustbe seenas a firststepina long-termresearchstrategy,notas anendinitself:

Consideringthecomplexitiesofourfieldandourmodelsfromthe

historyofthesuccessfulsciences,a strategyofdeliberateinitialover- simplificationhastoberecommendedtopsychology.Butthisguarantees thatintheearlystagesofdevelopmentthe-theoreticalorthodoxywill be misleadinglyreductionistic,willportrayhumansas moresimple machinesthantheyactuallyare.Ifpsychologistsatsucha stagewereto losetheperspectivethatthisviewwasa productoftheirlong-term strategy,wereinsteadtoexaggeratethedegreeofperfectionoftheir currenttheories,andweretopropagatetheseimmaturetheoriesasfinal

truth,thenetresultcouldbe destructiveofpopularvalues

again,a sciencerequiringthestrategyofdeliberateinitialoversimplifica- tionmayrecruitscholarsovereagertoadopta demeaning,mechanistic,

reductionisticviewofhumannature.7'

Here

Today,atleastsomepsychologistshavemanagedtomovebeyondthe mechanisticimageofman,and arepursuingresearchbasedupona morerealisticandusefulconception.Amongthenewerapproachesin

70Chein

(fn.68), 2; emphasisin original;i8.

71 Campbell,"On theConflictBetweenBiologicaland SocialEvolutionand Between

Psychologyand MoralTradition,"AmericanPsychologist,xxx (DecemberI975),

II20,

II2I.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

513

socialpsychology,forexample,is"attributiontheory,"whichexamines theassumptionsand workinghypothesesthatconstitutethe"naive psychology"ofordinarypeopleas theyinterprettheirownbehaviors andtheactionsofothers.Lee Ross,oneoftheleadersinthisfield,has summedup thesignificanceofthisapproach:

The currentascendancyofattributiontheoryin socialpsychologycul- minatesa longstruggletoupgradethatdiscipline'sconceptionofman.

No longerthe stimulus-response(S-R) automatonof radicalbehavior- ism,promotedbeyondthe rankof informationprocessorand cognitive consistencyseeker,psychologicalman has at lastbeen awardeda status equal to thatof the scientistwho investigateshim. For man, in the perspectiveof attributiontheory,is an intuitivepsychologistwho seeks to explain behaviorand to draw inferencesabout actors and their

environments.72

Whatofpsychology'ssecondproblem,thekindofknowledgeitcan

expecttoattainaboutman?Thatissuehasrecentlybeengivencareful

considerationbytheeducationalpsychologistLee Cronbach.Reflecting on his experiencein experimentalsocialpsychologyoverthelasttwo decades,Cronbachasks thequestion,"Should socialscienceaspireto reducebehaviorto laws?" He observesthat"Social scientistsgenerally, and psychologistsin particular,have modelledtheirworkon physical science,aspiringtoamassempiricalgeneralizations,torestructurethem intomoregenerallaws,andtoweldscatteredlawsintocoherenttheory. That loftyaspirationis farfromrealization."" The essentialdifficultywiththismethodology,Cronbachargues,is thatsocialsciencelaws,unlikephysicallaws,seemto be highlymuta- ble. As he putsit,"Generalizationsdecay."Further,"At one timea conclusiondescribesthe existingsituationwell, at a latertimeit ac- countsfor ratherlittlevariance,and ultimatelyit is valid only as history.The half-lifeof an empiricalpropositionmay be great or small.The moreopen a system,the shorterthe half-lifeof relations withinitarelikelytobe." He comparesthetaskofbuildingtheoriesin thiswaywitha mechanicalassemblyproblem:"It is as ifwe neededa grossof drycellsto poweran engineand could make one a month. The energywould leak out of the firstcells beforewe had halfthe batterycompleted.So itis withthepotencyofourgeneralizations.""

72 Ross,"The IntuitivePsychologistand His Shortcomings: Distortionsin theAttribu- tionProcess,"in L. Berkowitz,ed., Advancesin ExperimentalSocial Psychology,X (New York:AcademicPressi977), i74. 73Cronbach,"Beyondthe Two Disciplinesof ScientificPsychology,"American Psychologist,xxx (FebruaryI975), ii6, I25.

74

Ibid.,I22-23.

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WORLD POLITICS

Attheendofthisarticle,whichrecountstwodecadesofaspiration towarda nomologicalpsychology,Cronbachwrites:

Socialscientistsarerightlyproudofthedisciplinewedrawfromthenatu-

ralsciencesideofourancestry.Scientificdisciplineis whatwe uniquely

addtothetime-honoredwaysofstudyingman.Too narrowanidentifica- tionwithscience,however,hasfixedoureyesuponaninappropriategoal. Thegoalofourwork,I havearguedhere,isnottoamassgeneralizations

atopwhicha theoreticaltowercan somedaybe erected

The special

taskofthesocialscientistineachgenerationistopindownthecontempo-

raryfacts.Beyondthat,he shareswiththehumanisticscholarand the artistintheefforttogaininsightintocontemporaryrelationships,andto

realigntheculture'sviewofmanwithpresentrealities.75

Economics,likepsychologyand socialpsychology,has also been havingitstroublesin recentyears.The criticalthemeshavebeensur- prisinglyconsistent;thefieldis seenas isolatedand inbred,withits formalmodelsbearingverylittleresemblanceto theempiricalworld withwhicheconomistsaresupposedtobe concerned.Thesecriticisms haveforquitesometimebeenthestock-in-tradeof suchestablished gadfliesoftheprofessionas GunnarMyrdaland JohnKennethGal- braith.Myrdal,forexample,hasarguedthateconomistshavefailedto producerelevantknowledgebecauseofan inappropriatecommitment tothemethodsofthesimplernaturalsciences:

In

therehas been a strenuous,even strained,effort

amongmyeconomiccolleaguesto emulatewhattheyconceiveof as themethodsofthenaturalsciencesbyconstructingutterlysimplified models,oftengivenmathematicaldressing

It shouldbe clear,however,thatthisadoptionof a form,whichthe naturalscientists,inmoresimple,pointedquestions,canuseforanalysis andpresentation,doesnotreallymakethesocialsciencesmorescientific, ifthatformis notadequatetosocialrealityandtherefore,notadequate

fortheanalysisofit.76

Similarly,Galbraithusedtheoccasionofhis i972 presidentialaddress to theAmericanEconomicAssociationto chidetheprofessionforits failureto come to grips with practicaleconomicproblems:"Neo- classicalor neo-Keynesianeconomics,thoughprovidingunlimitedop- portunitiesfordemandingrefinement,has a decisiveflaw.It offersno usefulhandleforgraspingtheeconomicproblemsthatnow besetthe

modern society

No arrangementfor the perpetuationof thought

75Ibid., I26.

76GunnarMyrdal,Againstthe Stream:Critical Essays on Economics (New York:

Vintage I972), I43.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

515

issecureifthatthoughtdoesnotmakecontactwiththeproblemsthat

itispresumedtosolve."77

Thesedoubtsandconcernshavelatelybecomea bitmorewidespread.

MarcRoberts,a youngereconomist,assertsthat"a significantpropor- tionofrecenttheoreticalworkineconomicshasbeenoflittlescientific value.Manypapersexplorequestionsposednotbytheworlditself,but bysomeoneelse'smodel."78Theseviewsseemtobe sharedbysomeof

themostrespectedleadersoftheeconomicestablishment.OskarMor-

genstern,in an importantpaperpublishedin 1972, arguesthateco- nomicsis in a crisisbecauseit lacksthe concepts,methods,and philosophyitneedstodealadequatelywithsocialandpoliticalreality. Followinga discussionof currentequilibriumtheory,Morgenstern observes:

Thecontrastwithrealityis striking;thetimehascomeforeconomic theorytoturnaroundto"facethemusic."

Thereis,ofcourse,alwaysthepossibilityandthetemptationofproving allsortsoftheoremswhichhavenoempiricalrelevancewhatsoever Yettheultimatecriterionis whetherwhatthetheoremassertsis what isfoundinreality.OnecannothelpbutberemindedofHansChristian

Andersen'sstoryoftheEmperor'sclothes.79

WassilyLeontief,whowontheNobelMemorialPrizeforthein-

ventionofinput-outputanalysis,has struckan evenmorepessimistic

note.In hispresidentialaddressto theAEA, giventwoyearsbefore Galbraith's,Leontiefarguedthat"The uneasiness[in economics]is

causednotbytheirrelevanceofthepracticalproblemstowhichpresent-

dayeconomistsaddresstheirefforts,butratherbythepalpableinade-

quacyofthescientificmeanswithwhichtheytrytosolvethem Uncriticalenthusiasmformathematicalformulationtendsoftento concealtheephemeralsubstantivecontentoftheargumentbehindthe formidablefrontofalgebraicsigns."He concludedthat"In no other fieldofempiricalinquiryhasso massiveandsophisticateda statistical machinerybeenusedwithsuchindifferentresults."" The problemsin economics,as in psychology,wouldseemto be primarilysubstantive.Morgenstern,soundingmuchlikePopper,points

77John K.

Galbraith,"Powerand theUsefulEconomist,"American Economic Re-

view,Vol. 63

(MarchI973),

2.

78 Roberts (fn. 67), 6o.

79Morgenstern,"ThirteenCriticalPoints in ContemporaryEconomic Theory,"

Journal of Economic Literature,x (December I972),

ii64-65.

80 Leontief,"TheoreticalAssumptionsand NonobservedFacts,"American Economic

Review,Vol. 6i (March I971),

I, 2, 3; emphasisin original.

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516

WORLD POLITICS

tothefailureofeconomicstodealseriouslywiththenonphysicalaspects

ofeconomicprocesses:

theoverwhelmingemphasison thephysicalaspectsof theeconomic seemsone-sidedwhen we realizethatit is plans,decisions,

preferences,statesofinformation,expectations,etc.,etc.,thatdetermine themovementandsignificanceofthephysicalcomponentsofthewhole economicphenomenon.We arefarfromhavingmorethanbroadnotions ofhowto describeandmeasuretheirsharein a concretesituation.Do weevenhavea goodmethodologywe couldapply?81

It usedtobe,andapparentlystillis in muchofeconomictheoryif notpractice,thatthesedecisionsandexpectationscouldbe discounted becausetheytendedtocanceloneanotheroutin theclassicalmarket situation.Today,however,manyeconomistsattributea largepartof thediscipline'sempiricaldilemmatoa failuretoappreciatehowexten- sivelypoliticaldecisionsnowoverridethemechanismsofthemarket. Galbraithobservesthat"inplaceofthemarketsystem,we mustnow assumethatforapproximatelyhalfofall economicoutputthereis a powerorplanningsystem."82The effectofthisinjectionofplanning intotheeconomicprocesshasbeentoupsetthepredictivecapabilities

ofeconomictheory.RobertHeilbroner,in commentingon theinability ofeconomicstopredictthecourseofa nationaleconomy,remarksthat "it maybe thatthisis lesspossiblethanit was,becausetheeconomy itselfnowis so muchmorea creatureofdecisionmaking,and so much lesstheoutcomeofsheerinterplayofimpersonalforces,thatprediction

becomesinherentlymoredifficult."83

This major problemin economicswould seem to have important implicationsforpoliticalscience.For whattheeconomistsare saying is thatto theextenttheirsubjectmatteris becomingmorepolitical,it is becominglesssusceptibleto scientificand formalisticmethodologies. The impactof decisions,of thepossibilityof shiftingtheeconomyin new directions,underminesthe regularityof the impersonalforces thatpreviouslyallowedforsuccessfulpredictiveand modellingexer- cises.This conclusiondoes notaugurwell forthosewho envisionan eventuallyformalizedpoliticalscience.Indeed, the tendencyseems tobe in theoppositedirection;economicsmaybe becomingmorelike politicalscience!

A secondand relatedproblemeconomistshave had to deal with

deservesmention:theproblemof decayinggeneralizations.Like psy-

81

Morgenstern(fn.79), 1187-88.

82 Galbraith(fn.77), 4.

83 Quotedin Wade Greene,"Economistsin Recession," New York Times Magazine

May 12, 1974, p. 64.

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

517

chology,economicshasbeenunsuccessfulinitsattempttobuildlasting empiricalmodelsofitssubjectmatter.As Leontiefputsit:

Incontrasttomostphysicalsciences,westudya systemthatisnotonly exceedinglycomplexbutalsoina stateofconstantflux.I haveinmind thatourequationsaresup- posedtoexplain,butthebasicstructuralrelationshipsdescribedbythe formandtheparametersoftheseequations.Inordertoknowwhatthe

shapesofthesestructuralrelationshipsactuallyareat anygiventime,

wehavetokeepthemundercontinuoussurveillance.84

Thesesecondthoughtsin economicsand psychologyillustratethe degreetowhichthetwobellwetherdisciplinesarenowreassessingtheir earlierexplanatorystrategiesand meta-methodologicalcommitments. Clearly,theirattemptstodealwiththecomplexitiesofsocialrealityin termsof a modelof scientificmethodborrowedfromthephysical scienceshas runintomoredifficultiesthantheyhad expected.The ambivalenceof thiseffortto bringthehumanenterpriseunderthe categoriesand logicof thehardscienceshas beencapturedby the economistand socialphilosopherAlbertHirschman,whopointsout in a recentbook-in a sectionentitled"A PassionforthePossible"- that"Mostsocialscientistsconceiveitastheirexclusivetasktodiscover ." ratherthanrecognizing"themultiplicityandcreativedisorderofthe humanadventure."He maintainsthatthesocialscientistswouldbe surprisedand even"distraughtiftheirsearchforgenerallawswere all the successivetheoriesandmodelsinthesocialsciences,andtheimmense effortsthatgo intothem,aremotivatedbythenoble,ifunconscious, desiretodemonstratetheirreducibilityofthesocialworldto general laws!In no otherwaywouldithavebeenpossibleto affirmso con- clusivelythesocialworldas therealmoffreedomandcreativity."85 Thephilosophyofscienceitselfisexperiencinga processofre-evalua- tionandreorientationsimilartothattakingplacein psychologyand economics.ThearticlebyPopperwhichwehaveusedasa metaphorical guideforourownthinkingisbutoneexampleofa moregeneraltrend

inthefieldexemplifiedbyhiswork86andthatofPolanyi,87Hanson,88

84Leontief (fn.80), 3.

85 Albert0. Hirschman,A BiasforHope (New Haven:YaleUniversityPress1971), 27.

8"Popper (fn. i);

Conjecturesand Refutations(New York: BasicBooks I963);

The

Logic ofScientificDiscovery(New York: BasicBooks 1959).

Press1958); Observationand Explanation:A Guide to York:Harperand Row i97i).

87 MichaelPolanyi,PersonalKnowledge(Chicago:UniversityofChicagoPress1958).

88 NorwoodR. Hanson,Patternsof Discovery(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity

Philosophyof Science (New

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518

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Kuhn,89Quine,90Lakatos,91Toulmin,92and manyothers.Today,the pre-eminentpositionheldbylogicalpositivismin thephilosophyof scienceseemstobe weakening.Philosophersofscienceno longersee theirroleas oneoflegislatingthe"rules"of science;theyaremore likelytopursuedescriptiveandexplanatorymodesofresearch.Science is viewedas an activityor a process,notsimplyas a logicalproduct. Accordingly,an appreciationis beginningto developforthedegree to whichscience-humankind'sloftiestintellectualachievement-is groundedand dependentuponbasiccommonsenseand informalas wellas formalizedsubstantiveknowledge.93Philosophersarelearning moreabouthowsciencegrowsandhowitprospers.The newerlitera- tureinthephilosophyofscienceisrichininsightsandimplicationsfor theenterpriseofsocialscience.

IMPLICATIONS

If thewholeofsocialrealityhasdistinctivepropertiesrenderingit unamenableto simpledeductive-nomologicalformsof explanation, thisisespeciallythecaseforthestudyofpoliticswhich,ofallthesocial sciences,focusesmostdirectlyon collectivegoal-seekingand adaptive processes.A politicalsciencesolelyconcernedwiththe searchfor regularitieswhichconstrainchoicewouldmissthedistinctiveaspect

ofpoliticalreality,whichistheefforttoescapefromconstraints,todis-

covervalue-optimizingsolutionsto problemsin thecontextof con-

straints.

The anthropologistJohnW. Bennettrecommendsan approachto

anthropologicaltheoryandresearchwhichisorientedaroundthecon-

ceptofadaptation:

Insteadof abstractionsfrombehavior,likecultureor thereductive

formulasofpsychologyorgenetics,[adaptation]focusesonhumanactors whotrytorealizeobjectives,satisfyneeds,andfindpeacewhilecoping withpresentconditions.Intheircoping,humanscreatethesocialfuture inthesenseofgeneratingnewproblemsorperpetuatingoldonesand mayevenmodifythebiologicalconstructionofthepopulationin the

process

Byanalyzingthefactorsthatguidethechoiceofstrategies,

ThomasS. Kuhn,The StructureofScientificRevolutions(Chicago: Universityof ChicagoPress 1962).

89

90 W. V. 0.

Quine,OntologicalRelativity(New York: ColumbiaUniversityPress

i969).

91

Imre Lakatos, "Falsificationand the Methodologyof ScientificResearchPro-

grammes,"in Lakatosand Alan Musgrave,eds.,Criticismand the Growthof Knowl- edge (Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress i97o).

92 StephenToulmin,Human Understanding,I (Princeton:PrincetonUniversity

Foresightand Understanding(New York:Harperand Row i96i).

93 See Campbell(fn.71).

Press1972);

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

519

we gainknowledgeofthepossibilityand directionofchangeand the relationofhumanbehaviortothe milieus.94

We wouldarguethatwhatBennetthastosayaboutanthropology applieswithevengreaterforceto politicalscience:"theimportant phenomenaforan adaptationalanthropologyare dynamichuman

purposes,needsandwants

strategiccoping,thatis,theattemptto realizeindividualand social objectivesthroughthemobilizationof socialand materialresources.

This categoryofhumanbehaviorhas becomedominantin thecon- temporaryworldwithitsinterdependenceandgrowingconstraintson freeaction."" DuncanMacRaearguesa similarthesisregardingthedevelopment ofthesocialsciencesinthelastseveraldecades.

." The emphasisoughttoshift"toward

They [the social sciences] haveevolvedfroman earlierformof social analysis,lessspecializedandrecondite,byimitatingthenaturalsciences

. manysocial scientistshave becomeconvincedthatthe mosteffec-

tivepathtousefulapplicationliesthroughobjectiveresearchandtheory construction,freefromthecomplicationsofideologicalandphilosophical dispute.Theyhavethusdevelopeddistincttechnicalterminologiesand methodsof research,specializedjournalsand programsof graduate instruction.Throughthesedevicestheyhaveseparatedthediscourse ofspecialistsfromthatofthegeneralpublic,andthecommunicationsof theindividualspecialistsfromone another.The courseof thesocial sciencesduringthepastseveraldecadeshas thusbeenguidedby the modelof naturalscience-howeverdistincttheymayseemfromit to

naturalscientiststhemselves.96

MacRae'ssolutionto thisproblemofthewithdrawalofthesocial sciencesfromsocialproblemsolvingis tointroduceintotheuniversity a "disciplineofpolicyanalysis"whichwillcombinesocialtheoriesand analysiswithdisciplinedethicaldiscourse.He believesthatthepresent situationofcognitiveandvaluativefragmentationinthedisciplinesof socialsciencecanonlybe overcomebyan institutionalsolution-the introductionofresearchand teachingdepartmentsofpolicyanalysis

andappliedsocialscience.97

We havesomewhatlessfaithin organizationalsolutions,and are convincedthatthedisciplineofpoliticalscience-whichhastendedto abandonthetaskMacRaenowwishestoassigntoa specialdiscipline

94Bennett,"Anticipation,Adaptation,and theConceptofCulturein Anthropology,"

Science, Vol. 192 (May 28, I976), 847. 95Ibid., 850, 851.

96MacRae, The Social Functionof Social Science (New Haven: Yale University

Press 1976), 3.

97Ibid.,277ff.

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isstillcapableofreassertinga centralrolein thestudyandevaluation ofpublicpolicy.Thepowerfulattractionoftheexampleofthenatural

scienceshasbeguntofadeasoureffortshavefallenshortofouraspira-

tions.Despitetheprominenceofthetrendamongourmethodologists,

inourleadingjournals,andinsomeofourleadingcentersofgraduate instruction,theoverwhelmingmajorityoftheprofessionintheUnited Statesandabroadeitheractivelyresiststhemodel,experiencesa sense ofobsolescencebecauseofitsprominence,oris indifferenttoit.Most ofthepublishedworkinpoliticalscience,settlesforgoalslessambitious thannomotheticexplanation.Thisworkincludesdescriptiveor his-

toricalaccountsorcasestudiesmakinglimiteduseoftheoreticalframe-

worksandgeneralizations,andcontributestotheaimsofunderstand-

ing,interpreting,andexploringpoliticalrealityandpolicyalternatives

whichMacRaeidentifiesas crucialtopolicyanalysis. One mightmakethecasethatthesearchforgreaterrigorin our understandingofpoliticsmighthavemademoreprogressifitsclaims andexpectationshadbeenlessextreme,lessexaggerated,lessdifficult tosquarewitha recalcitrantreality.A morecautiousapproachtoscien- tificprogress,recognizingthepeculiaritiesofhumanandsocialreality, mighthave resultedin a moregeneralacceptanceof appropriate

quantification,oftheheuristicvalueofformal-mathematicalformula-

tion,experimentalmethods,andthelike. It is ofinterestthata quarterofa centuryago,in theaftermathof WorldWarII, whenthemovementtowardsciencein thesocialdis- ciplineswas justbeginning,thisrelationshipbetweenthesearchfor regularitiesandman'seffortstodiscovervalue-optimizingsolutionsto hispredicamentswasmoreclearlyunderstood.One hasonlyto com- parean early"scopeand methods"bookwiththemorerecentones citedabove.Sometwenty-fiveyearsago,manyofthepioneersofthe behavioralmovementin thesocialsciencescontributedto a volume

entitledThe PolicySciences:RecentDevelopmentsin Scope and Method.In theleadingchapter,HaroldLasswellstatedhispriorities:

"Ifourpolicyneedsaretobe served,whattopicsofresearcharemost

worthyof

gatheringfactsand interpretingtheirsignificanceforpolicy?How canfactsandinterpretationsbe madeeffectivein thedecision-making processitself?" Thesameessaycelebratedtheintroductionofscientific methodsintothesocialsciences-statistics,mathematicalmodelling, and relatedapproaches.Butthisscientifichardeningof methodwas setin thecontextofproblemsolving,valueclarification,andtheen- hancementofthehumancondition.Lasswelllookeduponmethodas

Whatare themostpromisingmethodsof

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CLOUDS, CLOCKS, AND POLITICS

521

makingpossibleactsof "creativeimagination"whichmightmove

mankindinconstructivedirectionsawayfromthetyranniesandcatas-

trophesof the I930's and I940's.98

The connectionbetweenthe searchfor regularitiesand political

creativity-clearlyseenbythatgenerationfreshlyreturnedfromWash-

ingtonand themilitarytheatersofWorldWar II-was graduallylost in the decades thatfollowed.The "methods"messageo