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Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy of Science’

Interview with James Bruce, Senior Political Scientist, RAND

This post provides another summary from an interview I conducted as part of my dissertation research and is included in the Appendix of the final,now completed version. I have known Dr. Bruce since 1998 when I was a student of his at Georgetown. Read the rest of this entry »

Kenneth Waltz, Iran and Nuclear Weapons

As I’ve been in the final months of completing my dissertation, I’ve had far less time to devote to the blog and topics that I’d like to spend more time thinking and writing about. While it is now beyond the news cycle, Kenneth Waltz’s recent essay in Foreign Affairs was quite interesting, but also misleading. At first glance, the policy prescriptive nature of the article was eye catching and challenging, and essentially continued his long-running debate with Scott Sagan and the rest of the international security studies community over the spread of nuclear weapons. The problem with Waltz’s argument, however, is less about his particular conclusions, than the broader problems of academic theory, models in general (both formal and informal), and their relevance to policy in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Observations on Quantitative Modeling in Defense and Intelligence Analysis

Over the last couple of weeks I had the opportunity to participate in a two conferences that focused on the role of formal modeling in intelligence and defense analysis. The preparation for these events kept me away from the blog, and I’m hoping to have a chance to write more as the majority of my time and attention return to my dissertation for the next several months. Read the rest of this entry »

Can International Relations Theories be Empirically Tested?

It’s been several weeks since my last posting examining. Over that time, I’ve been working towards the completion of a project that has taken a significant chunk of my time and forced me to think about the use of ABM in the study of international relations. In doing so, I’ve begun to explore the philosophy of science and the extent to which theories of international relations are really amenable to empirical testing. Read the rest of this entry »

The Use and Abuse of Models in International Security

Some days just appear to have a theme that constantly nags or colors everything that happens. It happens that yesterday was one of those days for me. I’m in the process of finishing up a project and I need to complete a book chapter on the validation of ABM based analysis for national security analysis. Importantly, the issue is less about the validation of the models themselves, and more concerned with whether or not analysts can use models for responsible inferences in support of decisionmaking. It also happened that the director of the Krasnow Institute where I work posted this on his own blog, and I came across this older piece in on the Wired website regarding some DARPA work that I’m familiar with. To add just a small piece more, a former government senior executive came to speak to my department yesterday about the challenges of ‘wicked problems’ in government, particularly in the design, development, and employment of new technologies and the difficulty of getting to work with the social structure of the government (building a new widget was rarely the difficult part). Read the rest of this entry »

Philosophy of Science, Models, and Policy

I got into modeling and simulation after being trained in strategic studies and intelligence analysis. When I was first exposed to Agent-Based Modeling, I recognized it as an opportunity to extrapolate from the particular features of individual case studies, allow for the rerunning of history or make comparisons between alternative competing historical accounts. Read the rest of this entry »
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