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International Relations, Paleontology, and Scientific Progress: Parallels between Democratic Peace Studies and the Meteor Impact Extinction Hypothesis



A major debate within the study of field of international relations (IR) has been the status IR as a science—and whether there has been or can be a scientific progress. Chernoff (2004) argues that hte democratic peace debate in IR satisfies all of the most well-known philosophers’ criteria for scientific knowledge and progress. Van Belle (2006) raises questions about the alleged extent of progress in democratic peace studies and offers a set of prescriptions for the study of international politics drawn from paleontology. This paper addresses several of Van Belle's criticisms of the progressive character of democratic peace studies in order to advance the understanding of methods of inference that can stimulate progress in IR and political science.

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