Alex Wendt's Social Theory of International Politics demonstrates perhaps more long and hard thought about social theory and its implications for international relations theory than most international relations scholars have dared to venture into. He admirably attempts to do in an explicit manner what most scholars in the discipline do only implicitly and often accidentally: suggest a social theory to serve as the foundation for theorizing about international relations. However, there are problems with his approach, a hint of which can be found in the epigraph he has chosen: ‘No science can be more secure than the unconscious metaphysics, which tacitly it presupposes’. Because metaphysics cannot ultimately be proven or disproved, it is inherently insecure. The insecurity and instability of the metaphysical presuppositions present in Social Theory are not difficult to find, and what Wendt ends up demonstrating, despite his objective not to, is the absence of any secure, stable, and unambiguous metaphysical foundation upon which IR theory could be firmly anchored. Indeed, what Social Theory does illustrate is that there is no such ultimate centre within the discipline except the powerful desire to maintain the illusion of first principles and the essential nature of things. If I may paraphrase Wendt, this is a ‘desire all the way down’ in that it permeates his relentless quest for the essence of international relations. Two goals characterize this desire: on the one hand, to take a critical stance toward more conventional international relations theory such as neorealism and neoliberalism; on the other, to maintain unity, stability, and order within the discipline. Social Theory oscillates between these two goals and in doing so deconstructs the very foundations it seeks to lay.