Is International Relations a Science?

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There is an alarming difference on how science and political science affect those looking for answers through these disciplines. When a new theory or explanation emerges in the scientific community, most are quick to say, “science has proven...” However, when political scientists arrive at a new conclusion, or when an existing “fact” turns out to be false, and a new paradigm comes along in the political science arena, most people are quick to brush it off, and rarely do they change their minds when the new paradigm contradicts their belief. Whether this raises questions on the validity of the claims made in the political science field, or if it raises questions on the trustworthiness of the scientific community is unclear. But as in any scientific field, paradigms and new theories do change from time to time; like any genuine science, Political Science does make progress.
The scientific research designed to help us understand reality can only succeed if it follows the logic of scientific deduction. However, the cynicism surrounding political science is caused by the connection to, and the distrust of politics in general, which creates a mental block. As a result, many people do not see political science as a genuine science. In reality, we regularly base our opinions on our beliefs which can sometimes come in direct opposition with facts. Our brain is hard-wired in way that it filters the “facts” we choose to belief, however, this process is generally based on our preconceived views about what we see as reality or as matter of fact. The only exception to this happens when the scientific community makes a new discovery, or a new paradigm emerges. In this case, people uncritically allow facts to drive their be...

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...way. Here lies one of the chief differences between the natural and political disciplines. Science does not rush to make claims. The scientific community does not attempt to solve puzzles under pressure. However, in any subfield of political science, more often than not, a new theory or paradigm is needed in the face of an emergency, or controversy. Studying world politics is to produce empirically grounded and justified claims. However, treating the scientific method as the only method towards a lasting solution for all problems and puzzles in the world does not tell us much about what it means for something to be a science. IR and those aiming to solve issues that make us interconnected with the rest of the world, have a much greater responsibility than normal sciences to practice its discipline and clearly define its goals because all of humanity is stake.