Models in Political Science

Inside Higher Ed has a good interview with David Primo and Kevin Clarke on their new book A Model Discipline: Political Science and the Logic of Representations.  The book and the interview criticize the hypothetico-deductive tradition in social science:

The actual research was prompted by a student who asked, “Why test deductive models?” The essence of a deductive model is that if the assumptions of the model are true, then the conclusions must be true. If the assumptions are false, then the conclusions may be true or false, and the logical connection to the model is broken. The point is that social scientists work with assumptions that are known to be false. Thus, whether a model’s conclusions are true or not has nothing to do with the model itself, and “testing” cannot tell us anything that we did not already know.

My thoughts exactly. Unfortunately, I don’t see the new book  changing the practice of political science research (Primo and Clarke are also pessimistic about the short term impact of the book).

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