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Response to the roundtable

Neumann, Iver B. (2014) Response to the roundtable. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 43 (1). pp. 365-368. ISSN 0305-8298

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0305829814542199


I should like to thank my four interlocutors for their thoughtful responses. I will touch only briefly on the comments made by Chris Brown and Jon Mercer, since we have few outstanding issues, and concentrate on what, not unexpectedly, emerges as the major bone of contention, namely the status of physiology or biology relative to a social science like ours. I agree with Chris Brown that there is perhaps too much self-reflection relative to other kinds of analysis within the discipline, but note in my defence that the genre of the inaugural is particularly inviting of this kind of stock-taking. We only seem to have one disagreement, namely the extent to which the roads not travelled in international relations should be studied. I may be more positive on this front, both for their inherent interest (what they can tell us about variation in relations between human polities) and also for the genealogical reason that systems tend to retain the memory of negative choices. These may, therefore, prove to be important later on. While I remain sceptical about Searle’s distinction between brute and institutional facts – what is so brute about the law of gravity in societies that do not acknowledge it?1 – I am in agreement with the general thrust of Jon Mercer’s argument. Neurosciences are important for us because they can tell us more about what is common to psychological systems, and so makes it easier to pin down psychological and social variation.2 Mercer also notes, contra Johnson, that psychology and biology are indeed causally linked, but that the psychological realm is ontically separate. I concur...

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2014 10:48
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:12

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