“The Third Debate Revisited” Review of International Studies 27 (2001)

RIS_edited_6Abstract: This article challenges the idea that IR theory is in the midst of a ‘third debate’ between ‘positivistic’ and ‘post-positivistic’ approaches, by showing that neither the ‘first’ nor the ‘second’ debates have lost any of their relevance, and by arguing that the ‘third debate’ and the allegedly new paradigms it generated do not constitute a challenging innovation. While the ‘first debate’ is a debate between two visions of human nature, the ‘second debate’ is a debate between two visions of knowledge. A critical stance vis-à-vis rationalism does not imply a rejection of political realism, nor an endorsement of postmodernism or constructivism.

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