Download Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations by Richard Ned Lebow PDF

By Richard Ned Lebow

May well global struggle i've been prevented if Franz Ferdinand and his spouse hadn't been murdered via Serbian nationalists in 1914? What if Ronald Reagan were killed through Hinckley's bullet? could the chilly struggle have ended because it did? In Forbidden Fruit, Richard Ned Lebow develops protocols for carrying out powerful counterfactual idea experiments and makes use of them to probe the reasons and contingency of transformative overseas advancements like global conflict I and the tip of the chilly struggle. He makes use of experiments, surveys, and a brief tale to discover why policymakers, historians, and diplomacy students are so immune to the contingency and indeterminism inherent in open-ended, nonlinear structures. so much controversially, Lebow argues that the variation among counterfactual and so-called real arguments is deceptive, as either could be evidence-rich and logically persuasive. A must-read for social scientists, Forbidden Fruit additionally examines the binary among truth and fiction and using counterfactuals in fictional works like Philip Roth's The Plot opposed to the United States to appreciate advanced causation and its implications for who we're and what we predict makes the social global paintings.

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Extra info for Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations

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Counterfactuals are a useful means of exposing the subjective foundations of beliefs and providing a possible means for scholars to step outside their own cultures and belief structures. Suppose we ask if there would have been a Cold War if the Soviet Union had been a liberal democracy in 1945, or if there had been no nuclear weapons? What if China had accessible coal reserves and iron deposits close to major commercial centers? Would it have begun its own industrial revolution and become a rival to Europe?

Chapter 6, “Scholars and Causation 2,” builds on the findings of the previous chapter. Tetlock and I found that participants in our experiments considered the contingency of events to diminish the closer we approach them in time. Counterfactual priming made participants more open to contingency, and more so when the counterfactuals were packaged in narrative accounts that embedded them in local context. In this chapter, I attempt to see if the same pattern holds when historians and international relations scholars are asked to devise their own close-call counterfactuals.

Long-shot counterfactuals should be inherently less credible than their close-call counterparts because of these differences. The experiments in chapter 5 indicate that historians and international relations scholars estimate events to be more contingent the Making Sense of the World • 25 farther back in time from them they are asked to make an assessment. Experiments using long-shot counterfactuals nevertheless suggest that such counterfactuals are difficult to make plausible. When they are judged implausible, historians and international relations scholars lower their estimate of the overall contingency of the event in question.

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