Thanks to completing this course, students will acquire and extend their critical thinking skills. Besides that, students will be capable to look behind the disciplinary limits as well and to recognize the main philosophical, historical and social influences on the ways of thinking about the international policy („ Thinking outside the Box").
Students will be able to critically evaluate following questions and many others: Does the science have its universal point? What is that if we say “scientific discipline”? Has the ideal of science been changing? Should the scientist interpret, evaluate or change his surroundings? If he should interpret – how he knows what he should interpret? If he should evaluate - how he knows according to what he should evaluate? If he should change – how he knows what and how to change? Is an objective knowledge possible? If yes – what should be done with it? If not – what to do next? Does knowledge reflect reality or our inner attitude towards surroundings? Is the science a tool for power or is it a mean to its overcoming? Have the science as it was defined by the Enlightenment reached its mission? What the potential of science lies in and where is it already depleted? What about Hans Morgenthaus opinion? Is the academic discipline of the international relations a science? If yes, why and what arises from that? Why the theory and the methodology exist? What is behind their origin? How their function has been changing? Why we think of international politics in theoretical means at all? Is it useful or limiting? The aim of the course is to extend critical thinking of students about their own discipline, to show, that the questions mentioned in previous paragraph have been in the centre of the scientific research in all circumstances and as such they are in the centre of the international relations as well. Every (social) scientist has to answer these questions, no matter if he is susceptible of this possibility or not.
1. Course introduction - structure and goals 2. The medieval scientific ideal and its relationship to theology: science will be introduced in its subordinate relationship to religion not aspiring on obtaining universal and unexceptionable knowledge, science as practical supplement of the universal core of theology. The “Gods peace” thesis as the theological way of dealing with the dilemma of war. 3. The success of natural science and the impeachment of the theological universalism: the anti-realist empirical and rationalistic reversal of Enlightenment, the success of natural science to determine „undisputable" laws governing the nature, the human intellect as a tool for impeachment of theological doctrines, the human intellect as a tool for determination of the truth, the reformulation of the scientific ideal – science, redeemer of the mankind, the “Perpetual peace” thesis as rationalistic way of dealing with the dilemma of war (Immanuel Kant, J. Benthem), the failure of rationalism to offer a vital alternative to theological universalism, the interpretation of empiricism, the positivism and the objective knowledge as a guarantee of progress and social system (T. Hume), science as a guarantee of solving military disputes and the international co-operation. 4. The universalism and anti-realism in the philosophy of science: the beginnings of the logical positivism, the philosophy as a „mucker" of road for the scientific knowledge, the theory as a scientific work basis, the first critiques of „absolutism" of the scientific knowledge (to. R. Popper), the science as an occupation (M. Weber). 5. The infiltration of positivistic philosophy of the social sciences to the international relations, the behaviorism and its influence on the social sciences, the behaviorism versus realism as a fundamental conflict dealing with the nature of the academic discipline of the IR, the transformation of the research agenda of the IR positivism regarding the influence of positivism 6. The anti-enlightenment and romanticism: the science as a tool for dominance and oppression, the methods of natural science as being unable to face social problems, the anti-enlightenment attitudes as ideological origins of the contemporary „post- positivist", the relativism (J. G. Hamann), the sectionalism (Montesquieu), the foundations of the interpretative tradition (G. Vico), Hans Morgenthau and his negative attitude towards science, Michael Oakeshott and anti- rationalism, the policy as a „wisdom" versus the amoral science.
7. The interpretative tradition and the language reversal: Max Weber and the method of understanding, L. Wittgenstein and the language reversal, Peter Winch as a propagator of philosophy instead of science of society, Ernst Haas and Karl Deutsch as initiators of the interpretative tradition in the IR, the constructivism, the attempts to connect constructivism with positivism. 8. The postmodernism as an impeachment of the universality of the scientific knowledge: Jean Francois Lyotard and science as a „meta-story", the refusal of science as an objective tool for recognition of reality, science as a power tool, the influence of this reversal on thinking about the international policy, the deconstruction of sovereignty and anarchy, 9. The pragmatism: Is the truth based on an agreement in community or is it an objective category? How to solve insolvable? Not so solve … William James, John Dewey and the philosophical pragmatism, the relational knowledge and the empiricism in the pragmatic interpretation, Thomas Kuhn and science as a sequence of intellectual revolutions, neo-pragmatism of R. Rorty, the natural attitude towards knowledge by A. Fine.
10. The scientific realism: the scientific realism as an alternative to positivism – R. Bhaskar, R. Putnam, Is the science able to have sense, if scientific theories do not refer to the real entities in the outer reality? Why is the empiricism insufficient and dangerous? Does the pragmatism lead to moral relativism? 11. The pragmatism versus the scientific realism and the research of the IR: the influence of the pragmatic and the scientific-realistic philosophy on the IR research (F. Kratochwil, A. Wendt, C. Wight). 12. The social epistemology: Dealing with all the skepticism – Are we able to develop our means of recognition at all? Is the epistemology progressive? Does it work without the conscious reflection? Are the norms of knowledge objective or do they come out from the social consensus? T. Fuller 13. A look in future: the courage not to know or the courage to impeach?
JAMES, Williams. Pragmatismus. Nové jméno pro staré způsoby myšlení. Brno: CDK, 2003. info
POTTER, Garry. The philosophy of social science :new perspectives. 1st pub. Harlow: Prentice-Hall, 2000. ix, 256 s. ISBN 0-582-36974-6. info
BARNES, Barry and David BLOOR. Scientific Knowledge: A Sociological Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. info
BHASKAR, Roy. A Realist Theory of Science. Leeds: Leeds Books, 1979. info
The course will be taught as one lecture and one seminar following.The meaning of this course lies in combination of interpretation and discussion on given topics, whereas bigger relevance will be put on discussion. It is assumed, that students are familiarized with common characteristics of discussed issues before certain lectures. The main presumption of purposeful graduation is an active participation during seminars as well. Fulfillment of both conditions will demand individual preparation for every session based upon study of obligatory bibliography. The major part of texts (approximately 250 pages for whole semester, i.e. around 20 pages for one week) will be in English language. This poses special demands on language skills of students. The course by its scope and demandingness requires at least basic orientation in history and theories of the international relations. There will be two texts assigned for every session - the first one covering general philosophy or history of science, the second one indicating reflection of certain philosophic impulse within international relations. These texts will serve as background for preparation paper (short summary, critical reflection, eventually questions) to the extent of one page at least. The preparation paper must be submitted till midnight the day before the course at latest. The elaboration itself does not mean a self-evident acceptance. The preparation paper has to prove consistent and critical study of text.
Those students, whose 9 preparations will be accepted and who will fulfill 70% of attendance at least will be let to write final exam essay. Supposing 13 sessions for semester this means 9 attendances.
Final written exam will consist of writing an essay on one of three suggested topics. Duration of the written exam - one hour. Final grade will be determined by combination of points acquired from written preparations and of final written exam.
Language in which the course is taught
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught annually.
Information on course enrollment limitations: Nezapisují studenti, kteří kurz absolvovali v rámci bakalářského studia pod kódem MVZ164.
Kurs je svou náročností koncipován zejména pro studenty, které mají alespoň základní znalosti teorií mezinárodních vztahů a především zájem o problematiku filosofie vědy. Předem však není vyloučen žádný z případných zájemců o kurs. Poskytnuté materiály v ISu není dovoleno jakýmkoli způsobem dále šířit a zpřístupňovat dalším osobám, jsou určeny výhradně pro studijní potřebu kurzu MVZ164 v jarním semestru 2008. Orientační seznam literatury je umístěn v syllabu ve studijních materiálech předmětu.