GROUNDING POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT
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CHAPTER 2:

THE ANALYTICAL METHOD


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I. The Problem of Social-Scientific Conceptualization

The basic task of social science theorists is to obtain agreement on useful conceptions. Thus our challenge is twofold. First, we need agreement on our conceptions in order to pursue truth in a sustained, cumulative manner. As Hobbes pointed out over three centuries ago, disagreement over the meaning of fundamental terms means a breakdown of discourse (Wolin, 1960: Chapter 8).(1) New conceptions are often proposed without eliminating their competitors. The long-term consequence is a welter of fundamentally different concepts, so that our research efforts, instead of adding one more grain of sand to the pile of knowledge, as the metaphor goes, only produce little dust balls scattered about our theoretical floor. In order to be truly helpful, a new conception must either eliminate previous conceptions or at the very least show how they are related to the "true" meaning, so that the little dust balls of knowledge can be swept together into something more substantial.

"Agreement" does not mean a unanimity of bald, unsupported opinion, however, because proposed conceptualizations cannot be held hostage to people who do not grasp the issues involved. Instead, agreement has to refer to the shared recognition or acknowledgment of good grounds for supporting a position. It must be based on a process of rational discourse rather than on one of competing stubbornness. In other words, we are in the position, made familiar to us by Habermas (1979a), of asserting absolute validity claims which we can only support contingently. Unanimity of opinion really pertains only to the ideal sphere of validity claims supported by good reasons; in practice, we are inevitably cast in the position of weighing people's agreement or disagreement against what we understand as their ability to grasp and formulate good reasons. The recursive nature of this process - that is, where we judge reasoners as well as reasons - reflects only our inability to reach an absolute truth.

Theoreticians have been sensitive to the need for agreement on the term "political development" and have consequently produced many theoretical critiques of previous conceptions of it, either in conjunction with a new conception or alone. Unfortunately, these critiques provide no positive direction. In some cases(e.g., Huntington, 1971; Riggs, 1981) they merely damn the entire project of conceptualization without addressing the serious concerns that originally led to the proliferation of definitions. In some cases (e.g., Pye, 1966a) they synthesize existing definitions but do not clarify their unity. In some cases they do not provide systematic grounds for evaluating alternative conceptions, which might be broadly persuasive, but instead provide only little "advertisements" for their own conception.

But the achievement of conceptual agreement is not our only challenge, however difficult it may be. The second challenge is to find fruitful conceptions - conceptions whose theoretical insights produce empirical value. We want conceptualizations to flow naturally into theories that lay bare regularities of important social processes. The process of conceptualization thus passes beyond mere identification of specific variables to an implicit indication of what social processes exist, how they are related, and why they are important. In other words, a persuasive theoretical conceptualization should also be embedded in a fruitful theoretical framework. This requirement of theoretical fruitfulness is not opposed to that of theoretical agreement - presumably the fruitfulness of a theoretical framework will tend to bring agreement on the theoretical conceptions supporting it, and vice versa-but the two requirements are not prima facie identical.

We need to recognize and accept right away that a theoretically virtuous concept may not be easily operationalized. But in the long run it is our theoretical accuracy, not our operationalization, that carries us forward in great leaps.(2) I offer the analogous case of the medieval alchemists, another "pre-paradigmatic profession," whose unsystematic experiments led them to discover many interesting phenomena but who essentially marched in place until the great organizing framework of molecular theory enabled them to proceed systematically. The operational requirements of modern chemists (purity of ingredients, precision of temperature and proportions, etc.) are more exacting than those of the alchemists, but chemists' profit on this operational investment is enormous. So will it also be with the social sciences.(3)

Why is conceptualization so hard for the social sciences, particularly as compared to the physical sciences? We would seem to have every advantage. Physical science had to invent, almost from scratch, concepts of work, energy, power, force, momentum, acceleration, electron, molecule, and so on. Even concepts whose names existed previously (e.g., "work") took definitions having little to do with their former intuitive meaning. Because the physical world is not constructed by humans, we necessarily had to develop our conceptions of it "from the outside in." The social world, by contrast, is constructed by human beings, so we would expect social concepts to be obvious. Our language already has such socially central notions as power, legitimacy, the self, development, culture, prejudice, politics, and the like. Our intuitive understanding of these terms would seem to be all that is required for accurate conceptualizations. Why then do social science conceptualizations remain in such dispute?

Three forces seem to be at work. First, precisely because we approach social science from the inside, conceptualization is not taken very seriously. Since we "know" what culture is, for example, conceptual/analytical work is seen as theoretical nit-picking, taking time away from the "real" business of data gathering. As a result, conceptualization is pursued unsystematically. Methodology texts invariably consider issues of validity, but they do not discuss how useful and widely acceptable concepts can be reached in the first place. This is true even of methodological and philosophical works that directly consider the process of conceptualization. Hoover (1984), for example, jumps immediately from concepts to measurement, without consideration of how the concepts are created. Payne (1984) objects to the reification of terms like political development and modernization, opting instead to stick closely to operational definitions. Babbie (1986:98-102) distinguishes conceptualization from nominal and operational definitions, but then quotes Hempel (1952) in dismissal of conceptualization:

A "real" definition, according to traditional logic, is not a stipulation determining the meaning of some expression but a statement of the "essential nature" or the "essential attributes" of some entity. The notion of essential nature, however, is so vague as to render this characterization useless for the purposes of rigorous inquiry (Hempel, 1952:6).(4)

Second, our conceptual problems also arise from various extratheoretical distortions of our theoretical discourse. For example, the reward structure of our disciplines currently favors empirical measurement over theoretical clarity. There is a proportionately strong pull to neglect theoretical accuracy in favor of creative operationalization and subsequent data gathering.(5)

Finally, disciplinary discourse is thrown into chaos by an absence of rigorous theorization and conceptual pruning. Social scientists justify their neglect of accurate conceptualization by holding to a "survival of the fittest" myth: that better conceptions will survive theoretical challenge, will produce better results, and will thus ultimately prevail. Researchers hold that their results are arbitrary relative to their operational definitions (or perhaps nominal definitions); or that definitions, while philosophically arbitrary, are disciplined only by their relative success in producing empirical findings. This attitude might be termed "conceptual pluralism ."(6) The consequence of conceptual pluralism is the rise of competing conceptualizations, with much consequent theoretical and empirical confusion. Note, for example, the long history of research attempting to disentangle the concepts of "authoritarianism," "left" vs. "right authoritarianism," "conservatism," "ethnocentrism," and "prejudice." Note, to take an even more pertinent example, the long history of attempts to distinguish from one another "development," "modernization," "Westernization," and "change."

This definitional proliferation pollutes social science as a scientific enterprise. Proliferation may serve other functions-paying our salaries, letting us see our names in print, legitimizing the current regime-but it will not be science. One might argue that better conceptualizations will ultimately prevail, but this outcome is not inevitable: ease of measurement may outweigh theoretical rigor in determining career success. Even if this were not the case, the confusion attendant on such proliferation is clearly a terrible burden on the social-scientific enterprise.




II. The Analytical Method

DPD addressed this problem of conceptual pluralism by using what it called the analytical method: a method for making decisive, rational choices among alternative conceptualizations. The analytical method makes the process of conceptualization systematic because it involves thinking clearly about fundamental theoretical requirements (FTRs) that the conception in question must meet, and then finding or inventing a conception that does so. If the FTRs have been well chosen, other analysts will agree with them and thus be forced, willy-nilly, into agreement with the conception the FTRs approve. If the FTRs have been well chosen, then the approved conception will have dug down into the heart of the social world, so that other conceptions will articulate smoothly with it in a unified, fruitful theory.

All of this puts great weight on the selection of the FTRs, of course, so from a logical standpoint we really haven't advanced very far: merely transferred the argument from a choice among conceptions to one among FTRs. However, it turns out that we are generally much clearer about what we want our conceptions to do (the FTRs) than we are about what they should be (the specific definitions). I think this will be clear from the examples of the FTRs for political development (in Chapter 3) and for political culture (in Chapter 6). At the end of the present chapter I discuss why the method appears to produce agreement and fruitful definitions.

After advancing and justifying its set of FTRs, the analytical method then makes both a narrow and a broad argument. The narrow argument is, "You should adopt this conception as against all other current conceptions, because it is the only one satisfying all the FTRs, which you yourself agree with."(7) The broad argument is, "You should adopt this conception because conceptions meeting the FTRs will be theoretically fruitful." The narrow argument is susceptible to direct, rational dispute. The broad argument, on the other hand, can be tested only indirectly through empirical research.


III. Problems with and Attacks on the Analytical Method

Despite the straightforward logic of the analytical method, several questions are commonly raised about it. In this section I set forth these questions and reply to them.

A. Where Do the FTRs Come From?

Must one resort to some infernal pact in order to get persuasive and fruitful FTRs? This important issue is raised by Russell Hanson (personal communication) and others, who hold my use of FTRs to be ad hoc, so that the method "produces plausible, but theoretically ungrounded results."I grant that l have no mechanical formula for discovering them, but I hope in the following discussion at least to demonstrate their human parentage.(8)

There are four major sources for FTRs. First are the elementary considerations of social science conceptualization. On the one hand, conceptions should be applicable across cultures; on the other hand, they should achieve this cross- cultural applicability in a manner that is sensitive to the uniqueness of each culture.(9) Conceptions should be operationalizable, at least in principle. Conceptions should be defined directly, not by reference to their causes, consequences, or correlates.(10) Complex conceptions should be defined as wholes, not as unstructured collections of constituent elements.

The second major source of FTRs is previous theoretical critiques. In the two areas I have investigated -- development and culture-there is a wealth of critical work. Sometimes that work is in the service of new conceptions; sometimes it has a simple critical/destructive intent. In either case, the work advances legitimate concerns. Such concerns are particularly useful because they represent those FTRs that existing conceptions are having difficulty satisfying. It turns out, for example, that many of the critiques of Almond and Verba's (1963) conception of political culture identify precisely that point at which Almond and Verba's preoccupation with operationalization subverted Almond's (1956) earlier, better, theoretical formulation. Such critiques, in other words, mark points where theoreticians can easily lose their way.

The third major source of FTRs is the theoretical introductions to previous work in the field of concern. Almost every such work starts with a loose description of the concept in terms of the hopes the analyst places upon it. Even if the particular conception offered does not bear out these hopes (or fails to bear out hopes mentioned in other works), the hopes themselves are generally unexceptionable. Enshrining these common hopes as FTRs ensures that a conception satisfying them will both command agreement and reap the theoretical harvest that the many theorists have expected of it.

Finally, one can discover FTRs by noticing the theoretical characteristics of one's own preferred conception. I hope I will not be misunderstood here, for I decried above the practice of making FTRs into little advertisements of one's conception instead of generating basic, agreed-upon theoretical requirements. One cannot start with a pet conception and develop from it FTRs whose only reason for existence is to distinguish one's own from others' conceptions, because these FTRS will not command acceptance or will not have the air of penetrating to the heart of the issue. One's readers, set on guard by ad hoc, tendentious FTRs, will look skeptically at one's subsequent conception. However, it is still legitimate, if risky, to develop a concept in interaction with its FTRs, so that a thoughtful examination of one's theoretical intuition about the concept reveals plausible, important FTRs. I date my full conception of political culture from the summer afternoon when, after several weeks of digging through existing conceptions and critiques, and after getting a general sense of the conceptual approach I wanted to take, I sat back and asked myself why I felt mine ",as the correct conception. The resulting list of FTRs in turn helped me clarify my concept and articulate it more clearly. Thus, the difference between a true analytical method and the method of "little advertisements" is that one has to judge the FTRs on their own merits. The standard one does not apply is: will they distinguish my work from that of others? Instead, the standard must be: will the FTRs both command agreement and take us to the heart of social life?

This leads me to the issue of "metacriteria" for the FTRs. In my experience, FTRs invariably have two characteristics. First, they do not make any assumptions about the nature of empirical reality. For example, even though I believe wholeheartedly that Kohlberg's work on justice reasoning development is empirically correct, I don't embed it in my FTRs of political development. Not presuming empirical facts also means not excluding potentially uncomfortable facts. Thus in my discussion of political culture, one of the FTRs insists that conceptions of political culture not reduce culture to some lowest common denominator.

Although the absence of empirical assumptions is the goal, some FTRs will inevitably have to make certain basic assumptions like "Society exists," or "People will listen to each other's arguments to some extent," or "People are motivated to some degree by considerations of justice," and so on. Ultimately, the validity of the analytical method depends on the wide acceptability of these assumptions. The approach here is similar to that of John Rawls in his A Theory of Justice, where he gives his participants in the Original Position some sense that they are in a society, but provides them only facts that he believes everyone will recognize as relevant characteristics of the human condition.(11) Such empirical presumptions are always open to rational dispute, of course, but the ideal is that the FTRs should make as few and as obvious empirical presuppositions as possible.

A corollary of this is that the analytical method is most easily applied to concepts whose existence is generally acknowledged and widely applicable to concepts, in other words, that do not belong exclusively to one theoretical framework, or historical circumstance. This holds true, for example, for the concepts "political culture" and "political development" but not for "critical elections."(12)

A second metacriterion is that FTRs are either satisfied or not: there are no "degrees" of satisfaction. This dichotomous character is required by the logic of the analytical method; one argues that other conceptions do not satisfy all the FTRS, while one's own does. Requiring dichotomous FTRs also has the virtue of distinguishing theoretical from professional considerations.(13) For example, it would be a happy circumstance if our chosen conception could be easily operationalized, but "case of operationalization" is not a legitimate FTR. One can easily conceive that proper and fruitful conceptions might be very difficult to operationalize, as they are in chemistry. Demanding dichotomous FTRs prompts one to advance only truly central FTRs-those one is willing to live or die by, theoretically speaking.

B. How Do You Persuade Someone to Accept the FTRs in the First Place?

The discussion so far has assumed that the FTRs command agreement, but clearly some analysts might not agree with one or more of them. How does one deal with this disagreement?

The analytical method is not a mechanical process for achieving Truth. There are no magic answers here; the FTRs have to carry their weight. The FTRs are human constructions and require thought and discussion before they command agreement. For example, in the next chapter I justify the five FTRs I used in defining political development. The arguments there range from the obvious to the complex.

Remember, however, that with an adequate number of FTRs, one's argument does not hinge on any one of them. Typically, alternative conceptions will violate several of the FTRs. Unless the disagreeing analyst takes issue with all those FTRs, she will still be forced to accept the one surviving conception. One need not get wrapped up in disputing every disagreement.(14)

But doesn't this possibility of disagreement overthrow the whole logic of the analytical method? After all, if the analytical method merely shifts the debate from the level of conceptions to the level of FTRs, disputes at the one level will simply be translated into the other. If the FTRs are themselves subject to dispute, what does the analytical method gain us?

First, one can often achieve remarkable results with a few obvious FTRs: close examination of the many proposed conceptions of political development and political culture reveals that most of them are dismissed even by the simplest of theoretical considerations. However, this answer is not fully satisfactory. Such successes are short lived, because they depend on earlier theorists having failed to be very precise in their conceptualizations and thus having violated the most obvious of FTRs. If those conceptualizations were to be tightened up, however, the disputes would be renewed over more controversial FTRs. An example will make this plain: Many development theorists define development in terms of its consequences instead of directly. Their conceptions are certainly inadequate on that basis, but it is clear that they may well have a conception of development per se and are only referring to its consequences as a shorthand (or as a lapse of theoretical rigor). If they redefined their conception of development more directly, the result might not be dismissed as easily. Although the analytical method forces theorists to avoid sloppy conceptualizing, it is not a magic way for simple FTRs to resolve fundamental debates.

The virtue of the analytical method really arises from the interplay it forces between theoretical considerations and particular conceptions. In essence, it brings an additional source of light to bear on the problem of conceptualization. Rather than being condemned to direct clashes between conceptions, we can also employ our theoretical sensibilities. The analytical method makes explicit the process of theoretical discourse. The theoretical considerations embodied in FTRs have always played a part in theoretical discourse about conceptions, but they can be lost from one dispute to the next. Enshrining them as FTRs makes them more readily applicable to new disputes and allows them to be the subject of direct discussion themselves, thus establishing a new and potentially enlightening level of discourse.

C. How Many FTRs Should There Be, and How Do We Know We Have All of Them?

The "narrow" logic of the analytical method only requires as many FTRs as necessary to exclude all but one candidate conception. But there are good reasons to develop as many FTRs as possible. First, the more FTRs employed, the more persuasive one's argument becomes. People may dispute the validity of certain FTRs, and if the argument hinges on all of them, it fails to persuade. Using numerous FTRs may be theoretical "overkill," but it is better to have five too many FTRs than one too few. Moreover, the more FTRs employed, the more confidence we have that the surviving conception will continue to survive. A minimal number of FTRs leads to the suspicion that FTRs may lurk in the wings that would exclude the surviving conception.(15)Finally, the more numerous and varied the FTRs, the more confidence we have of the theoretical fruitfulness of any surviving conception.

It is impossible to know when one has all the FTRs. In fact, it seems plausible that any reasonable conception could have an infinite number of FTRs. The issue will always be what criteria people are able to agree on, and this list may increase indefinitely as our theoretical acumen increases.

D. What if People Advance Their Own FTRs to Invalidate Your Own Conception?

The analytical method is not a party attended by invitation only. Others are free not only to criticize existing FTRs but also to propose their own-presumably in the service of their own conceptions but in any case not necessarily in the service of your own pct conception. How are you to deal with such challenges?

It should be obvious that you have to deal with others' challenges in the same way you are asking them to deal with yours. You must examine each proposed FTR to see if you agree with it. (The "metacriteria" discussed above will be helpful in this evaluation.) If, upon inspection, you can find no fault with a new FTR, you have no choice but to bite the bullet and accept whatever logical consequences follow from it.

E. What if No Conception Meets the FTRs?

It is conceivable, particularly as the list of FTRs expands, that all existing conceptions might be eliminated. This does not invalidate the analytical method. Two responses are called for. First, reexamine the list of FTRs to discover whether they are inconsistent-that is, self-contradictory. If they are, this indicates either some error in your list of FTRs or else the basic irrationality of the conceptual enterprise on which you have embarked. Recognition of an inconsistency among the FTRs will prompt either revision of some of them or development of an important "impossibility theorem."(16)

If the FTRs are not obviously inconsistent, then you must develop your own conception. Once more, I caution that there are no magic solutions to the problem of conceptualization. Presumably a new, satisfactory conception will emerge from careful inspection of previous concept-,, of the FTRs, and of the points of conflict between the two.

F. What if Someone Proposes Another Conception Satisfying the FTRs?

If faced with multiple concepts, you first need to check that other conceptions do indeed satisfy all the FTRs. Like most people, analysts can fall prey to wishful thinking: "My own conception is wonderful, so I don't need to look very closely at the FTRs."(17)

But assume the alternative conception does satisfy all the FTRs. This is not at all destructive of the logic of the analytical method but rather a wonderful opportunity for theoretical discourse about the relative merits of the two conceptions. As I said earlier, the analytical method is not a machine for grinding out Truth. The process of conceptual development through the analytical method is a process of reflective equilibrium (Rawls, 1971), where FTRs and conceptions discipline one another, advancing both the theoretical sensibility that produces the FTRs and the conception favored by them.


IV. One Conceptualization or Many?

The analytical method takes the "unitary" position that the central concepts of social science ultimately have only one perfect conceptualization. Obviously this metatheoretical assumption cannot be proven, but responses to earlier versions of these arguments indicate that it requires some discussion.

The term "central concepts" needs explanation. Here again, I find Rawls's image of the Original Position to be of great use: concepts are central only if we would admit them behind the Veil of Ignorance. Concepts like "culture" or "development" refer to existential conditions of human life, so that we lose no generality of result by admitting knowledge of them into the Original Position. They constitute part of what I imagine Rawls (1971:137) means by "the general facts about human society, political affairs [, and] the basis of social organization."

I am not concerned about the uniqueness of conceptualizations of more peripheral concepts, for two reasons: (a) their conceptualization may well vary; and (b) they may not be fruitful. The concept, "party identification," for example, is unique to a particular social formation, having neither cross-cultural applicability nor broad normative implications. Different political frameworks will command different conceptualizations of the term, and there seem to be no transcendental grounds for preferring any one of the term's different usages. In many political frameworks the term may have no meaning at all. The analytical method may help clarify meanings in such cases, but it may also run up against ,in "essentially contested concept."

Furthermore, even if agreed upon, peripheral concepts may not be fruitful. Given that they do not strike to the heart of human experience, the theories in which they play a part will necessarily be contingent, limited, or uninteresting. Much of the rational choice literature strikes me this way.

But let us return to the issue of the "unitary" position. Even for central concepts, why assume only one perfect conception? Here the best answer I call give is that the alternative has the most unfortunate consequences. To assume that fundamental aspects of human life have multiple conceptualizations-not just empirically, in the sense that people factually do disagree, but rather theoretically, in the sense that they can never come to agreement-means an abandonment of communicative action itself. It means that people cannot, never will, and need not even try to discuss their different experiences and perspectives with one another. It means they are opaque to one another-that the differences in their perspectives not only exist but are also forever unbridgeable. In short, "conceptual pluralism" ultimately represents not a respect for others' positions but instead a resigned ignorance (if not an outright dismissal) of them. Under such an assumption, rational discourse becomes merely strategic action, arguments merely contests of wills, and societies merely battlegrounds.

But the metatheoretical assumption of a single, "right" conceptualization should not be confused with the contingent, theoretical claim that a specific formulation is the only one possible. The "unitary" position looks totalitarian when compared to the "conceptual pluralist" position. In fact, the exact reverse is the case: the "conceptual pluralist" position, by denying the possibility of' rational discourse, leaves us only the totalitarian means of force and deception as mechanisms for producing theoretical agreement, while the "unitary" position requires us only to keep honest discourse alive.(18)


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FOOTNOTES

1. The current Towers of Babel erected on the sites of "culture" and "development" are evidence of this problem. Note the consequent attempt by Huntington (1971) to abandon the concept of development and by Riggs (1981) to deny its very existence.

2. Dowding and Kimber (1983) take this position with respect to political stability. See also Lehman (1972:362) with respect to political culture.

3. Our position is analogous to the alchemists' in still another way. Alchemy was dominated not by the search for truth itself but by certain specific desires, like the desire to change base metals into gold-an enterprise that could be financed by wealthy patrons. As long as those specific desires were the goal, no systematic knowledge could be obtained. We now do in fact have methods by which base metals can be changed into gold, but these methods would almost certainly not have been discovered by alchemic progress. Like alchemy, social science finds itself dominated by the quest for social control. Its new patrons are primarily the representatives of the established order, whose interest does not lie in the discovery of truth but in the management and control of particular social problems. As long as social science sacrifices the search for truth to the search for social control, truth will elude it.

4. To be fair to Hempel, however, his subsequent discussion of "explication" (1952:10-12, following Carnap, 1950, Chapter 1) does contemplate conceptualization beyond the mere linguistic analysis of conventional usage:

The considerations leading to the precise definitions are guided initially by reference to customary scientific or conversational usage; but eventually the issues which call for clarification become so subtle that a study of prevailing usage can no longer shed any light upon them. Hence, the assignment of precise meanings to the terms under explication becomes a matter of judicious synthesis, or rational reconstruction, rather than of merely descriptive analysis: An explication sentence does not simply exhibit the commonly accepted meaning of the expression under study but rather proposes a specified new and precise meaning for it (Hempel, 1952:11).

5. I believe, but do not here insist, that value-laden concepts like political development are particularly prone to distortions arising from hegemonic control of theoretical discourse. Control of his kind is currently exerted along lines of class, occupation, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and so on. One need not presume conspiracy or ill will to recognize that definitions of development advanced in a milieu consisting primarily of white, male, and middle-class intellectuals, educated almost exclusively in the United States, may lack a certain breadth of perspective.

6. Conceptual pluralism also arises from the pleasant but scientifically unfortunate politesse that prevails among social scientists. The murky nature of social science has over time rewarded its students more for their tolerance of others' ridiculous ideas than for their scientific accomplishments in refusing to put up with nonsense.

7. This argument combines three claims: (1) "For each FIR, only conceptions meeting its requirements are acceptable"; (2) "The proposed conception meets all the FTRs"; (3) "No other existing conception meets all the FTRs." There is an implicit fourth claim, which I will discuss later, to the effect that there are no universally acceptable FTRs that the proposed conception would not satisfy.

8. But see the discussion of "metacriteria" below.

9. These desiderata apply to conceptions that we consider foundational to social science - conceptions that are "always already," as Habermas has it, part of the fabric of social life. Conceptions of development and of culture would seem to be such concepts; it is difficult to conceive of social life at all without them. Conceptions of "clan" or "marriage," by contrast, are temporary, contingent social constructs, and so might be readily conceptualized by means other than the analytical method described here.

10. Of course such causes, consequences, and correlates might be employed to measure them, with the usual considerations of validity and reliability.

11. The fact that many people object to Rawls's theory on the grounds that more facts should be adduced is irrelevant here.

12. Of course the analytical method can still be employed within a given framework to command agreement among that framework's adherents. My feeling is, however, that its success in resolving disputes will be much less, because the concept's narrow focus gives less theoretical purchase.

13. This discussion recalls Kant's distinction between hypothetical and categorical imperatives. Hypothetical imperatives are derived from the desire to achieve some nonuniversal goal, while categorical imperatives are derived from the conditions of thought itself.

14. It does happen, however, that analysts use the perceived inadequacy of one of the FTRs to dismiss an entire argument. These attacks are only of tactical concern, however; such illogical arguments do not dent one's conclusions.

15. I will not dwell on the ad hominem suspicion that the analyst has deliberately stopped looking for other FTRs for fear that they might upset her theoretical apple cart.

16. A well-known example of such an impossibility theorem is Arrow's (1951) paradox, showing that no social welfare function exists that satisfies five plausible FTRs.

17. Of course, an analyst proposing another conception may not abandon it even if you demonstrate that it violates some of the FTRS. As always, she can challenge those FTRs themselves.

18. For example, Chapter 6 makes the contingent claim that its conceptualization of political culture is the only one satisfying the nine FTRs of that concept. The claim is expressed absolutely, and some readers have taken it as making a claim beyond argument. But the reverse is true: its claim about political culture is inherently relativized by the grounds on which it is made: its satisfaction of the FTRs. By the very terms of its argument it lays itself open to continued discourse about its validity.


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Author:  Stephen Chilton [email]  |  Last Modified:  2004-11-30
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