Approaches Identified with Explanatory Hypotheses or Causal Theories
So far in the chapters of Part III we have examined approaches that are identified with (1) an academic discipline, (2) a salient feature of politics, (3) a behavioral outlook, and (4) analogies among systems. All of these approaches provide general criteria that students of politics can employ in deciding on the questions or problems to take up and in selecting the data to consider in relation to them. Thus all of them reflect or suggest a conception of what is important to an effort to understand or predict or control the course of political events. They point in a general way to ideas and data that are presumed to be significant.
Now we turn to approaches that are identified with explanatory hypotheses or causal theories. The difference is more one of degree than of kind, for all kinds of approaches reflect or suggest conceptions of the significant. But the explanatory hypotheses do it more explicitly. Whereas an approach identified with an academic discipline, for example, simply points to a field of inquiry and to the varied data associated with it, an approach that is expressed in a hypothesis or theory points to a more specific type of data and to a way of ordering it. If we say, on the one hand, that the causes of war are economic or psychological, we are pointing generally to data identified with academic disciplines. If we say, on the other hand, that capitalism causes war or that the human craving for