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On the Causes of War$
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Hidemi Suganami

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198273387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198273387.001.0001

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(p.11) 1 Questions
On the Causes of War

Hidemi Suganami

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines two major contributions to the study of how to reason about the causes of war. They are Kenneth Waltz's Man, the State and War, published in 1959, and Keith Nelson and Spencer Olin's Why War?, which appeared twenty years later. Man, the State and War deals with three levels of analysis regarding the causes of war: the levels of man, the state, and the international system. The two works classify a large variety of answers that have emerged concerning the causes of war, and they do so in different, though partially overlapping ways. But neither of them pays sufficient attention to the important fact that a number of distinct questions arise. This common defect is partly responsible for leading Waltz, as well as Nelson and Olin, into advancing their own causal theories of war, which are in turn defective. Their works, in their own ways, are important contributions to the study of how to reason about the causes of war, and in the case of Waltz's book, a pioneering one.

Keywords:   causes of war, Keith Nelson, Spencer Olin, Kenneth Waltz, theories, man, state, international system

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