Waltz’s Modesty: Structures Never Tell Us All that We Want to Know – They Tell Us “A Small Number of Big and Important Things”

Abstract

This essay classifies Waltz’s theory into a functionalist framework, very much like the economic theories it is inspired by. Waltz assumes that structure has primacy not because this is the case, but because it helps to theorize upon. His theory should therefore be measured by its predictive fruitfulness and simplicity, not by the empiric truth of its assumptions. Constructivist criticism, which mistakes Waltz’s concept of primacy as ontological primacy and not epistemological, therefore makes a categorical mistake. Anarchy might be what states make of it, but what states make of it is broadly shown by his Theory of International Politics (TIP). By viewing TIP as a functionalist macro-theory it can incorporate constructivist theories as control-theories and creates a powerful synthesis for future research.

Keywords: Neorealism, Functionalism, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Economics, Economic theory, Constructivism


How to Cite:

Rusinek, H. (2016) Waltz’s Modesty: Structures Never Tell Us All that We Want to Know – They Tell Us “A Small Number of Big and Important Things”. Journal of Global Analysis, 6: 9-20.


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