The Perils of Paradigm Mentalities: Revisiting Kuhn, Lakatos, and Popper

Looks good. The abstract of this paper

I show how paradigm mentalities help justify rigid opposition to theoretical alternatives and limit critical insight. While paradigm mentalities may be fitting for disciplines that demonstrate Kuhn’s concrete scientific achievements, they constrain the study of political science and international relations in particular. I begin with a primer that compares Kuhn and Lakatos to Karl Popper. Next, I point to harmful consequences resulting from applying paradigm mentalities to the study of international relations. Among these is the tendency to act as if realism has earned the status of a paradigm and then invoke criteria of incommensurability and “subsumption” to deflect criticism. I conclude by discussing how Popper’s model of science provides a better platform for the study of politics by encouraging theoretical and methodological pluralism.

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