Which Way after Positivism? Pragmatism and Scientific Realism and Their Role in IR Research

  • Michal Kořan
Keywords: Positivism, pragmatism, scientific realism, philosophy of science, epistemology, ontology, social science, IR


This essay addresses the issue of how to transcend the long-lasting stalemate between positivism and various forms of post-positivism. The main assumption rests in the belief that one of the possible solutions to this stalemate can be offered by replacing the positivism versus postpositivism debate by a discussion between scientific realism and pragmatism. The article thus starts with a brief characterization of logical positivism, which is followed by a more thorough deliberation on the issue of pragmatism and scientific realism. The text raises questions of the mutual incompatibilities of both positions, as well as their respective influence on the disciplineof International Relations. It is also argued that by adopting one or another of these philosophiesof science, we can bring about specific consequences for actual research practises.

Author Biography

Michal Kořan



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