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The Use and Abuse of Imagination: A Reply to Samuel A. Bleicher

  • Michael D. Wallace and J. David Singer

Extract

It has often been observed that recent converts to any belief system tend to be among its most zealous adherents, and science (despite its emphasis on objectivity and detachment) has proved no exception. As the canons of scientific inquiry begin to take hold in each field of human knowledge, there have appeared those who seem, as it were, more royalist than the king. For these scholars the rules of scientific inference are not guidelines to be used with care but dogmas to be pursued unswervingly; to them science is not, as someone once expressed it, “attenuated common sense” but a totally different and rather severe regimen of thought.

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1 Kaplan, Abraham, The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science (San Francisco, Calif: Chandler Publishing Co., 1964), p. 25.

2 Bleicher, Samuel A., “Intergovernmental Organization and the Preservation of Peace: A Comment on the Abuse of Methodology,” International Organization, Spring 1971 (Vol. 25, No. 2), pp. 298305.

3 Singer, J. David and Wallace, Michael, “Intergovernmental Organization and the Preservation of Peace, 1816–1964: Some Bivariate Relationships,” International Organization, Summer 1970 (Vol. 24, No. 3), pp. 520547.

4 For a revealing “inside look” at the steps in the discovery of the structure of DNA see Watson, James D., The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1968).

5 Singer, and Wallace, , International Organization, Vol. 24, No. 3, p. 540. Italics added.

6 See J. David Singer, Stuart Bremer, and John Stuckey, “Capability Distribution, Uncertainty, and Major Power War, 1816–1965,” and Wallace, Michael D., “Status, Formal Organization, and Arms Levels as Factors Leading to the Onset of War, 1820–1964,” both to be published in Peace, War, and Numbers, ed. Russett, Bruce M. (Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage Publications, forthcoming); and Wallace, Michael D., “Power, Status, and International War,” Journal of Peace Research, 1971 (Vol. 8, No. 1), pp. 2335.

1 Assistant professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. J. David Singer is professor of political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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