essays on realism and rationalism ..
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While Morgenthau’s six principles of realism containrepetitions and inconsistencies, we can nonetheless obtain from themthe following picture: Power or interest is the central concept thatmakes politics into an autonomous discipline. Rational state actorspursue their national interests. Therefore, a rational theory ofinternational politics can be constructed. Such a theory is notconcerned with the morality, religious beliefs, motives or ideologicalpreferences of individual political leaders. It also indicates that inorder to avoid conflicts, states should avoid moral crusades orideological confrontations, and look for compromise based solely onsatisfaction of their mutual interests.
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Immanuel Kant explicitly enacts a revolution in epistemology modeledon the Copernican in astronomy. As characteristic of Enlightenmentepistemology, Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781,second edition 1787) undertakes both to determine the limits of ourknowledge, and at the same time to provide a foundation of scientificknowledge of nature, and he attempts to do this by examining our humanfaculties of knowledge critically. Even as he draws strict limits torational knowledge, he attempts to defend reason as a faculty ofknowledge, as playing a necessary role in natural science, in the faceof skeptical challenges that reason faces in the period. According toKant, scientific knowledge of nature is not merely knowledge of whatin fact happens in nature, but knowledge of the causal lawsof nature according to which what in fact happens musthappen. But how is knowledge of necessary causal connection in naturepossible? Hume’s investigation of the idea of cause had madeclear that we cannot know causal necessity through experience;experience teaches us at most what in fact happens, not whatmust happen. In addition, Kant’s own earlier critiqueof principles of rationalism had convinced him that the principles of(“general”) logic also cannot justify knowledge ofreal necessary connections (in nature); the formal principleof non-contradiction can ground at best the deduction of oneproposition from another, but not the claim that oneproperty or event must follow from another in thecourse of nature. The generalized epistemological problem Kantaddresses in the Critique of Pure Reason is: how is sciencepossible (including natural science, mathematics, metaphysics), giventhat all such knowledge must be (or include) knowledge of real,substantive (not merely logical or formal) necessities. Put in theterms Kant defines, the problem is: how is synthetic, a prioriknowledge possible?