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A Model DisciplinePolitical Science and the Logic of Representations$
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Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195382198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382198.001.0001

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A Model Discipline

A Model Discipline

(p.1) 1 A Model Discipline
A Model Discipline

Kevin A. Clarke

David M. Primo

Oxford University Press

Models have come to be the dominant feature of modern political science and can be found in every corner of the field. Despite this ubiquity, most political scientists know very little about models, their properties, or how to think about models in a rigorous fashion, all despite the fact that political scientists are highly skilled at model construction. This chapter introduces the model-based view of science that is advocated in this book. It is contrasted with the dominant way of thinking in the field: theory testing. The chapter also introduces the five main themes of the book: science is not what we think it is; current practice is not “philosophy-free”; models are objects; models are not tested with data; and theoretical models are necessary components of explanations.

Keywords:   models, philosophy of science, theories

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