Epistemology and "Objectivity" in Social Science

  • Ondřej Císař
Keywords: Epistemology, objectivity, social science, international relations, positivism, realism, normative theories


This article presents a critical commentary on the debate between M. Loužek and P. Drulák. First, in direct contradiction to Loužek's position, the article argues that "objectivity" in social science is not based on a dogmatic belief in the ability of a particular theory to seize the "truth" of the world-out-there. Instead, the only way to approach the ideal of objectivity in our varied and complex world is to facilitate an open debate between different theoretical positions. The article then discusses the dichotomy between positivism and normativism introduced by Loužek. This dichotomy is artificial; realism is no less "normatively-oriented" than alternative paradigms in international relations theory. However, there is a relevant distinction between analytically-oriented and normatively-oriented theories that is overlooked by Loužek, who wrongly believes that all non-realist theories of international relations belong to the group of normative theories.

Author Biography

Ondřej Císař



Epistemology of Social Science Forum