You are on page 1of 21

DRAFT: Do not quote without permission

the processes of events which constitute the world of nature are altogether different in kind from
the processes of thought which constitute the world of history. (p.217)
A process is historical only when it creates its own laws (p. 82)
R. B. Collingwood, The Idea of History (1994(1946))

Cliometrics Revisited:
Including Scientific History in the Methodological Pedagogy of Political Science


Hayward R. Alker

VKC330, School of International Relations, University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0043.

Prepared for panel 7-9: Crossing Boundaries, Crossing Methods, Research Strategies for a
Globalizing World, American Political Science Association, Saturday, August 31, 2002, Boston, MA.


As a contribution to pluralistic political methodology, this paper draws on Alkers experience in
teaching IR513 Historical and Social Science Research Methods to an international group of graduate
students in the International Relations Ph.D program at USC. In that course, historians writings on
historiography are dialectically opposed to social scientific methodological texts (and the contents of
a required multivariate statistics course) as a way of broadening students awareness of
methodological alternatives in politically and internationally oriented research practices. Because of
the provocative philosophical contrasts it suggests with popular Political Science teaching texts like
those King, Keohane and Verba (1994) and van Evera (1997), particular attention will be given to a
number of cliometrically-relevant theses offered by R. G. Collingwood in his The Idea of History
(1994). Particularly challenging is his claim of the emergence in the 19
Century of a new,
methodologically self-conscious, autonomous form of scientific history, based on principles different
from those guiding the natural sciences, positivistic historiography, or the other social sciences.
Rather than attempt to adapt existing, naturalistic styles of statistical/causal/econometric research
practices to historical materials in the manner of the quantitative, behavioral cliometrics of the 1950s-
1970s, the present effort draws on a wider range of conceptually and technically suggestive literatures
from the humanities, linguistics, cognitive and computer science for operational representations and
strategies more closely consonant with the ontological, epistemological and methodological tenor of
Collingwoods historiography.


It is one of the more depressing ironies of the contemporary global age that ontological,
epistemological and methodological differences among Political Scientists and inter-disciplinary
International Relations researchers seem at times to be even greater than the conflicting political
positions taken at the United Nations by the official delegates of their countries of birth or residence.
Do not the great majority of scholars from almost all traditions of historical and social scientific
scholarship claim to seek insights, understandings, and eventually policies, oriented toward the
amelioration of such often bloody conflicts? Yet both these scholars, as well as the
diplomats/practitioners representing their viewpoints in inter-governmental fora, often cannot agree
on the scientific character of research supposedly relevant to the understanding and amelioration of
such conflicts.

One of the brighter features of internationally oriented scholarship in our globalizing era is
that the boundaries between orientational viewpoints, paradigms and disciplines are increasingly
being transcended.
Despite the clear polarization of American and Soviet international scholarship
across epistemologically contrasting positions such as Popperian critical rationalism vs. Marxist-
Leninist dialectical materialism, such boundary transgressions were even discoverable cutting
across the Three Worlds of the Cold War (e.g. Alker 1981). They are now more evident in an era
when cross-civilizational differences and the dehumanizing automation of high tech warfare are
threatening the worldwide, continuing conversations of humankind.

Anti-positivistic Scientific History as a Contemporary Pedagogical Challenge

From the confluence of these tendencies comes the pedagogical challenge I here want to
address in a limited, primarily historiographic, fashion: how should we in the United States prepare
graduate students from here and abroad, particularly those in Political Science and International
Relations, for productive careers in an era of increased, often fractious, globalization? More
specifically, how should we do this when technological inequalities have produced perhaps the
greatest concentration of communicative, economic and military power that human beings on this
planet have ever seen, a concentration that is revolutionizing both the nature of global civilization,
inter-state warfare, and even the structure of international relations?
Surely, self-awareness
concerning the strengths and limitations of the contributions of the natural sciences and related
technologies to the history, the theory and the practice of international relations should be part of such
an education.

As a modest contribution to this subject, the present paper focuses on the phenomenological
and disciplinary boundaries between History and Political Science from the perspective of a teacher
of International Relations. Rather than pigeon hole History as part of the Humanities, and Political
Science as a Science, I want to explore the overlap between these domains: the realm of scientific
history. I will pay particular attention to scientifically framed, traditionalist arguments in

Indeed, when I had a chance to structure the theme panels of the International Studies Association a few
years ago, I was for challenging boundaries in the political world, and among disciplines, a stronger version
of the crossing boundaries theme of the present panel (Shapiro and Alker, 1996).
I take this rhetorical phrase from my first hand observations of the remarkable job that Candido Mendes has
done in his decades of bridging orientational differences within the life of the International Social Sciences
On these subjects, since September 11
, 2001, and before, I have found most helpful the writings of James
Der Derian and Mary Kaldor. For their related, post-9/11 reflections, see Der Derians 9.11: Before, After,
and In Between, and Kaldors Beyond Militarism, Arms Races and Arms Control, both on the 9/11
webpages of the Social Science Research Council:
historiography like those quoted at the beginning of this paper (about which, more below).
Specifically, against the background and the bibliography associated with IR513, a methodology
course I teach to Ph.D students at USC, I want to focus here on one of the most provocative and
detailed anti-positivistic historiographic discussions of the rise of scientific history I know: R. G.
Collingwoods The Idea of History (1994, originally published in 1946, on the basis of lectures,
papers and manuscripts dating from the later 1930s; hereafter TIoH).

I want to take seriously Collingwoods historiographic claim of the relatively recent
development of a disciplinarily distinctive, autonomous scientific history. What do I mean by
taking seriously his claims? Taking his philosophy of historical science seriously, i.e. proceding in
a way which remains open to the potential knowledge contributions of the social, humanistic and
computational sciences, but stays as close as is reasonably possible to the way that Collingwood has
defined scientific history at both ontological, epistemological and methodological levels. For reasons
to be spelled out more fully below, I shall try to honor Collingwoods scholarly intent in this way.

There are several contemporary virtues to this line of exploration. First, this focus helps
diffuse the unreflective material-technological arrogance that often been associated with
imperial/hegemonial international practice. To the extent that they have not yet been seriously ex-
posed to such avowedly scientific historiographic arguments in their own reading, research and
teaching, this review might also inspire reflective self-criticism about these lacunae among those
advocating in an open minded way their own scientific approach to international history and politics.
All student-scholars should be able reasonably to articulate, criticize and defend, modify, and choose
among appropriate philosophies of scholarly inquiry; few today can go beyond stereotypical
treatments of their non-preferred alternatives. Moreover, this focus on scientific historiography allows
traditionalists from less technologically fixated research orientations or societies a way of translating
their insights into an arguably appropriate scientific mode of thought, without disallowing the
possibility of other, more technically oriented, philosophically legitimate forms of historical-political

I want to be clear that despite the many misuses of science that both traditionalists and
post-modernists have emphasized I still find immensely appealing classical and modern ideals of
internationally practiced scientific history and context-sensitive social science. On the other hand, it is
to me equally important that discussions among student-scholars of different countries, disciplines or
research paradigms should allow, and will often benefit from, reasoned, concretely illustrated
philosophical arguments about how to achieve such scientific goals. Invisible walls of silence
signaled by the absence of relevant footnotes -- divide our disciplines. Sometimes these silences
reflect innocent ignorance, but often at the senior level they do not. Epistemological dogmatism is a
poor character trait for those hoping successfully to navigate international, cross-disciplinary waters.

As taught by myself and Robert English in 2000-2002, IR513 (Historical and Social Science Research
Methods) did not focus on readings from Collingwood. Historiographic texts by Joyce Appleby et al., Fritz
Ringer, Robert Hall, and Georg Iggers were used instead.
A few years before then, in IR513 I pedagogically emphasized the historical account of the development
of the idea of history given on pages 1-204 of The Idea of History; but this meant less emphasis on the
arguments about the scientific quality of professional history since the later part of the 19
century elaborated
upon in the Epilegomena, pp. 205-334, e.g. the anti-positivist quotation from p. 217 at the beginning of the
present paper, and no attention to the epistemologically helpful earlier Collingwood lectures included in the
der Dussen edition. The related exam question was often based on the quotation (from p. 82) about the special
quality of historical processes, a quotation also given at the beginning of the present paper.
How I can reintroduce this work into IR513 with the emphases of both quotations which I plan to do in
2003 for reasons given in this text without cutting out the valuable contributions of these other
historiographers, is not yet clear.
The lack of publicized pedagogical attention among quantitatively rigorous political methodologists
and other scientific social scientists to the serious arguments of a self-consciously scientific
historiography is an excellent case in point.

At the applied, pedagogical level, a related goal is to help scholars-in-training identify
epistemologically defensible, teachable procedures for representing, and accounting for, historical
phenomena. This goal might sound like ordinary Cliometrics or data-based scientific history of the
operationally oriented, positivistic sort popular among an intrepid minority like Karl Deutsch,
Harold Guetzkow, Robert North and David Singer attempting to build bridges between behavioral
political science and traditional history in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It is my belief that these
pioneering IR cliometricians did not take traditionally oriented historiography like Collingwood
seriously in the ontological/epistemological/methodological sense indicated above. As a potential
future product of this effort , I have in mind is a more contemporary, post-positivistic (not anti-
positivist) variant of Cliometrics Cliometrics Revisited, which may or may not be technologically
implemented. For those who are interested in operationalizing key theoretical concepts so they can
be empirically tested and then perhaps be reformulated in a formally rigorous manner, I have come
to believe (Alker, 1974, 1996) that the more adequate representation of such concepts often by
nonstatistical, cognitive, linguistic or computational formalisms should precede, or at least be an
appropriate conclusion from, such testing efforts.

Within the context of a 2002 APSA panel on crossing boundaries and crossing methods, there
are several additional reasons for this restrictive focus
. First of all, research paradigms or research
programs within or cutting across specific disciplines have different research-strategy-justifying
stories. Learning relatively persuasive, but anti-positivistic versions of scientific history is an
important part of a pluralistic, inter-disciplinary, social scientific education, a lesson in
methodological tolerance. And learning not to straw man the positions of traditionalistic,
humanistic advocates of different research approaches can be good training for the scientifically self-
identified. The problems are not unlike those engendered by the conflict-exacerbating tendencies of
self-serving national histories, a bane of 19
and 20
Century International Politics.
And, least
important but highly relevant vis--vis the Perestroika movement in contemporary American
Political Science a recent version of the IR513 course syllabus has been approvingly cited by
Mr./Ms. Perestroika in Perestroikas web-based discussions of methodological pluralism.
I want to

Another less pedagogically oriented, but personally engaging, theme for the present panel would have been
the cross-discipline-relevant mixture of holy war, virtual realities, cyborg technologies, networked agencies,
terrorist and anti-terrorist goals and strategies that Der Derian calls virtuous war. My own special interest in
this regard is in somehow reconciling the cyborg-friendly commitment of Karl Deutsch to preserve for any
finite mind or group the open pathway to the infinitethe possibility of communication with a potentially
inexhaustible environment and a potentially infinite future (Deutsch, 1966: xiv) in the face of the manifest
tendencies for informationally oriented, computerized technologies to produce or sustain securitized closed
worlds. (Edwards 1996.) This engagement I leave for another occasion, but I recommend as highly relevant
Philip Mirowskis historically and economically informed study of the partial, ongoing, still contested
transformation of economics into a cyborg science (Mirowski 2002).

Taking inspiration from a UNESCO effort shortly after World War II, I have tried to spell out in more
detail what a truly international history would look like in (Alker, Amin, Biersteker, Inoguchi, 1999).
Relevant historical citations are given in (Kennedy 1973) and (Barraclough 1979). Some Political Scientists
are likely to know Anatol Rapoports resolutionally-oriented, similarly dialectical discussions of the Cold
War (Rapoport 1960) or Herbert Kelmans related approach to the study and resolution of inter-group
A 2001 version of the IR513 course list is available on the website of the School of International Relations at
convey in a concrete way some of my thoughts about how such a syllabus should be designed,
updated, and implemented.

Collingwoods Ontology of Historical Processes

Rather than presume a monopoly of scientific virtue on the behavioral-statistical side of the
traditionalist-scientific divide, and thus buy into the simplistic operationalizations and unreflective
naturalistic statements of purpose that have long been associated with such research, I shall re-present
Collingwoods views as strongly as I can within his own philosophical terms. When I use slightly
more contemporary, potentially operation terms his own language from the 1930s is often
remarkably prescient I shall do so in a rather unconventional dialectical fashion, with the hope of
rationalizing and justifying potentially fruitful research strategies cutting across the History-Political
Science divide.

Since this entire paper is a dialectical exercise, I shall organize my discussion in terms of
Theses abstracted from Collingwoods TIoH. But first I shall comment on the tripartite division I use
to re-present Collingwoods views about the science of history. Reading through the supplemental
essays that der Dussen has helpfully appended to the Revised Edition of TIoH one finds frequent
distinctions between general [or pure or universal] methodology and empirical methodology (e.g.
pp.346ff, 388ff., 491ff.). For example, on p.496 empirical historical methodology is described as
concerned [in a principled way] with particular varieties of historical material, and the varieties of
ways in which they should be handled, and distinquished from an epistemologically oriented
general or universal methodology, which deals with the universal problems of method which affect
every piece of historical work. But there is also an explicitly metaphysical or ontological aspect of
Collingwoods philosophy of history, as when he discusses human nature(pp. 205-17), the essence of
history (p. 340), or equates universal methodology, how historians always and necessarily think
with how historical fact is always and necessarily constituted[i.e.] a metaphysic of historical
reality. (p. 435) Expositionally, I choose to distinquish these three themes, starting with the last,
acknowledging their overlaps.

First let me replay Collingwoods ontological distinction between natural and historical
processes, and some of the ontological definitions or characterizations it is based on, in my own
analytical, yet dialectical style.

Definition C1. Events are to be understood as happenings which can be classified. (Collingwood,
TIoH, p228)

Definition C2. (The inside and outside of a past event). Historians investigating a past event
distinquish the following: By the outside of the event I mean everything belonging to it which can

A pedagogically oriented discussion of TIoH will also help me with the distilling, focusing and further
developing my previous writing on historical methodologies for social and political scientis ts. (Alker, 1984,
1992, 1996; Alker and Frasier, 1996).
Collingwood (TIoH, p. 358) takes the critical dialectical view that Definition is an operation peculiar to
empirical conceptions. As Nietzsche famously remarked, one can only define dead things. But for an
audience trained in empirical ways, I subscribe to need for at least midterm stability in meanings, and for
increasing clarity regarding them. Note also how often I use exact quotes from TIoH for my definitions: his
practice, and even his textual use of the word definition regarding Definitions C8 and C10 below, belie his
be described in terms of bodies and their movements; By the inside of the event I mean that in it
which can only be described in terms of thought. (Collingwood, TIoH, p. 213)

Definition C3. [A]n action is the unity of the outside and the inside of an event. (p. 213)

Definition C4. A process in a connected sequence of events (inferred from TIoH, 48f, 81, 437n, etc.),
sometimes a process in which something is changing into something else. (p. 163).

Thesis C1 (The distinction between natural processes and historical processes).
A natural process is a process of events [especially, or exclusively their outsides, which may be all
they have], an historical process is a process of thoughts. (p. 216)
Elaboration C1.1. Humes philosophical abolishment of spiritual/mental substance had the
consequences of reducing the minds nature to the ways in which it thinks and acts, thus resolving
this concept of substance into a concept of mental process, i.e. of thoughts. (p. 82)
Elaboration C1.2. Historical processes can be connected by plans, unconscious relationships, logics of
action, divine or despotic will, forms of rationality and irrationality, context, circumstances, etc.
(inferred from TIoH, 48f, 81, 437n, etc.)
Elaboration C1.3. Among the observationally derived classes of events, causal and other relations can
be established. (p. 228)
Elaboration C1.4. This distinction resonates with the famous dialectical distinction between external
relations relations subsisting between A and B [which] are irrelevant to the essential nature of A
and of B -- and internal identity constituting relations. In particular, Toynbees principles for
constituting individuality, a restatement of historical positivism, are derived from the methodology
of natural science based on the conception of external relations [involving external links among
distinct, wholly self-contained entities]. (TIoH, p. 161f, 418f)

Using Definition C3, we also find a variant version of the natural/historical process distinction:

Thesis C1 As a natural science, geology presents us with a series of events, but history is not
history unless it presents us with a series of acts. (p. 115)

Now we move on to an elaboration of some of the distinctive in his more Kantian moments
Collingwood might say necessary, universal or essential features of historical processes. We have
just seen some ways in which they different from natural processes. More categorically, history does
not consist of events causally determined and scientifically comprehensible [in a naturalistic fashion]
(p.150). We have gathered together elements of Collingwoods notion of historical process both
because, as he himself realized, these initial ontological claims are important for Collingwoods
argument of the relatively recent emergence of a distinctive science of history with its own distinctive
domain (the past) and methods of study (TIoH, p.2), and because the natural/historical contrast will
play such an important role in his amazingly contemporary anti-positivism.

The actual quote behind the second half of this definition, with its clear emphasis on the constitution of
changing things, is: The historical fact, as it actually exists and as the historian actually knows it, is always a
process in which something is changing into something else. (TIoH, p.163)
Alker 1996, Ch. 5 takes Bertell Ollmans lead in making a remarkably similar distinction vis -a-vis 19
Century epistemological/ ontological controversies.

Thesis C2. There are many distinctive features of historical processes, such as:

Thesis C2A. The first step towards grasping the peculiar characteristics of history is the
recognition that the historical process creates its own vehicles (p. 49)
Elaboration C2.1 Thus entities like Rome or England are not the presuppositions but the products of
that [kind of historical] process. (ibid.) Additional, related claims are:

Thesis C2B. A process is historical only when it creates its own laws.(p. 83, as cited above).
From this one may derive the Presupposition and Corollary C2B [T]he laws of nature have always
been the same, but there are no [timelessly valid] historical laws, in the sense that a positive
science of mind can have no guarantee that the laws it establishes will hold good beyond the
historical period from which its facts are drawn. (pps. 239, 178, 223).

Thesis C2C. The historical process is at bottom a logical process (p. 117, specifically here in the
Hegelian sense that it displays the self-development of reason, but also in the sense that societies
with historicity, i.e. considerable historic inheritance of thought, are those where a specifically
rational life has begun (p. 227)).

Thesis C2D.This element of process [whereby something is always changing into something else] is
the life of history. (p. 163) From these last two claims, Collingwood appears to derive and use a
notion of a lifeless past and a living past.

Thesis C2E. The positive peculiarity which distinguishes thought from mere consciousness is its
power of recognizing the activity of the self as a single activity persisting through the diversity of its
own acts. (p. 306). Hence human [I]ndividuality [is] the very substance of the historical
process;[H]istorical fact in its individuality, [and the associated roles of]chance and free will
[as] determining causes cannot be banished from history [or historical process] without
destroying its very essence. (pp.150, 178, in discussions of Bury and Meyer, British and German
historians c. 1900.)

By way of brief commentary, what things and processes does Thesis C2, with its incomplete
but rich 5-part articulation in terms of Theses C2A-E? Even a cursory review of certain recent
academic and public discussions resonates nicely with the specificity, the individuality, the
contingency and the changeful nature of post-Cold War world politics. Have we begun to define the
characteristic features of the post-post Cold War world? Is post-modern war emerging as well;
how about the opposing trends toward the remasculinization and feminization evident in the current
variants of Middle Eastern virtuous war? What has happened to state sovereignty: hasnt American
hegemony, coming after a mostly displaced Cold War between superpowers, help constitute a host
of super-power friendly and super-power antagonistic transnational actors which in turn are
undermining state sovereignty, legitimating themselves in civilizational (not national) terms, and
changing the politics of international/world civil society? What are the distinctive features of
globalization, of a world that has become mostly connected, urban and warmer? What larger
logics or patterns of (ir-)rationality can we find in debates about the rationality of global
environmental regulation and international criminal law? Can we capture the significance of
September 11, 2001 using scientific language in which Osama Bin Laden, other islamicists, George

(Alker 1992)s more elaborated discussion of historicity follows along very similar lines; it was inspired by
Frederick Olafson.

Bush and the war on terrorism are not mentioned by name? Doesnt Collingwoods list nicely
evoke such highly relevant historical questions?

A very important ontological argument concerns the ideality of history. Presupposing a
common sense conception of history, it starts with a definition of ideality, and appears to derive at
least in part from Collingwoods arguments against historical realists who believe in the
reality/actuality of past facts. Various related epistemological elements of this position will be further
elaborated below.

Definition C5. History in the ordinary or common sense of the word is knowledge of the past.
(TIoH, p. 363)

Definition C6. Ideality is the quality of being an object of thought without having actuality. (p.
This means that things having the property of ideality are not real, in the sense of being actual.

Thesis C3. (The ideality of history, as object of study). All events that are objects of historical
thought are events which are not happening because they have ceased to happen. (pp. 439f, 412ff)
Hence the past -- history qua object of historical thought -- and historical facts are ideal, not real.

Given the popularity of thin ontological realism in contemporary American international
politics (Wendt 1999), here is a chance to rethink whether Collingwoods arguments about historical
realism invite rethinkings of Wendts and related realist philosophies. Even more challenging are the
implications for data-making: are data also not real? To recreate Collingwoods answers to such
questions we need first to turn to his treatment of history as a discipline, and then discuss its
associated empirical research methodologies.

Collingwoods Historical/Disciplinary/Epistemological Claims About Scientific History

The overall narrative and structure of TIoH points to the development of an autonomous
discipline of scientific history (Part IV), with Greco-Roman (Part I), Christian (Part II), and
Enlightenment-Romantic-Dialectical-Positivistic (Part IV) precursors. The Epilegomena (Part V) can
be read last as a recapitulation, but der Dussens reconstruction of T.M. Knows earlier editorship of
Collingwoods manuscripts (especially p.xiif) suggests that most of the Epilegomena and parts of the
Introduction (Part I), should be seen as parts of an independent philosophical work, tentatively
entitled Principles of History. The stirring conclusion of TIoH, Parts I-V, sees the idea of the birth of
freedom necessarily bound up with the [idea] of an autonomous science of history with its own
distinctive methods (der Dussen, in TIoH, p.xii; Collingwood, TIoH, pp. 315-334, the concluding
sections of the Epilegomena).

Our appetites are further whet by a claim such as: Since the time of Descartes, and even
since the time of Kant, mankind has acquired a new kind of thinking historically. (p.232) But the
immense range of European sources used by Collingwoods in telling when, where, how and why this
happened can be overwhelming. Indeed the student might get more out of of TIoH if s/he has first
read the Introduction and the Epilegomena (Parts I and V). This way s/he could be motivated and
focused by the stunning achievements articulated there to find out where they came from. Reading
the history of history in Parts II-IV of the book for clues to the development of the idea of
scientific history both as phenomenon and discipline then might become a little more manageable.

One of Collingwoods arguments is that partly discontinuous breakthroughs or revolutions
or radical discoveries are part of this disciplinary story. American Political Science graduate students
trained in the 1970s and 1980s were often similarly introduced to Thomas Kuhns writings on
scientific revolutions in the natural sciences, with the presupposition that Political Science should be
seen in the same way. But at Oxford, close to a half century earlier, Collingwood was talking of
Copernican Revolutions in scientific history, referring primarily to later 19
Century philosophical
historians in German, Italy, and then England.

Thesis C4.([T]he Copernican Revolution
in the theory of historical knowledge (p. 240)). For the
common-sense theory, historical truth consists in the historians conforming to the statements of his
authorities; [in his essay on The presuppositions of critical history written in 1874] Bradley has
seen that the historian brings with him to the study of his authorities a criterion of his own by
reference the authorities themselves are judged. (p. 240; see also p.236f on the autonomy of
historical thought)

Elaboration C4.1. With this revolution by which history has become a science(p. 320)
come what Kuhn would call new ways of seeing: authorities becomes sources to be approached
critically (p. 268ff); sources must be read as evidence (p. 279); many new, e.g. archeological,
kinds of textual and non-textual evidence become available (especially pp. 490-96). It is recognized
that the historian has no direct or empirical knowledge of his facts (p.282); his/her objective, non-
personal claims are mediately based on challengeable grounds, necessarily involve imaginative
inferences, are always based in specific, incomplete evidentiary contexts, but are never merely based
on personal experience or empirical data in the naturalistic sense (pp. 23149, 282, 366f). The
historians distinctive criterion of historical truth becomes not correspondence with past reality (see
Thesis C3), but whatever the [existing and available] evidence obliges us [or, more precisely, the
person in a specific situation with a particular point of view making a truth claim] to believe (pp.
438, 459, 474). History looks at the transient and concrete, specific individual things or actions in
a particular past time and space (p. 234). It is ideal in the sense of Thesis C3, thinking about an act
of thinking (p. xxxvii), searching for purposive thoughts motivating/causing/expressed in actions,
the inside of events (pp. 213-15, etc.).

Collingwood comes to his disciplinary version of the ideality of history in trying to answer
the epistemological/methodological question of how can we have knowledge about the past? This
question became particularly challenging when it became clear to him and many other philosophical
historians that ontologically the past is not real. The past is no longer happening; what is real occurs
in the present. For the past to be alive in the many rich ways recognized in Thesis C2 about
historical processes, it must be the in content of historians present thoughts! How can the historian
know the past? His answer: by re-enacting what are arguably the same thoughts as those experienced
by some other humans in the past. Arguments are based on empirical/methodological standards for
interpreting evidence surviving from the past; these arguments take into account the claims and
inferences of previous historians as part of the critical re-enactment of the past. The historians
certainty in doing so is only as strong as the mediate evidence for such claims, as we have just

Collingwood does not give us a very clear idea of what he means by this phrase, so I have not added a
prefatory definition of it. Much later in his text he suggests that a revolution of the sort he is discussing means
that the method and insights of scientific history visible intermittently and sporadically in the works of
earlier genuses have become available to everyone. We now demand of everybody who writes history
adherence to the standards of scientific history. (p. 320) Disciplinary conceptions of modern history will be
discussed further below.
Thesis C5. (The ideality of historical inquiry: History as re-enactment of Past Experience.)
Historical knowledge is the knowledge of what mind has done in the past, and at the same time it is
the [critical, reconstructive] redoing of this, the perpetuation of past acts in the present.Its objective
is an activity of thought, which can be known only in so far as the knowing mind re-enacts it and
knows itself as so doing. (p. 218; see also 209 and 306f.) Reflectively self-aware, typically
purposive, this re-enactment brings into the present the work of past historians of the same subject:
for if history is ideal, it cannot be a single, self-contained body of fact awaiting discovery, it must be
a growing and changing body of thoughts, decomposed and recomposed by every new generation of
historical workers. (p. 456)

From this claim follow two important corollaries. The first concerns the unity of history as a
mode of inquiry and as an object of study, the second concerning the ways history reflectively makes
possible knowledge about changing human nature.

Corollary C5.1. (The unity of history, the history of history, and the objects they study). Because so
much of history is the rewriting of the thoughts and judgments of previous historians and historically
self-conscious actors,[h]istory and the history of history turn out to be identical. (p. 410) All
history is, or at least involves and presupposes, the history of history. (p. 462 )

Corollary C5.2. Historical knowledge is a form of self-knowledge in that it involves the critical
study of ones own thought and because the study of past actions, even though they are no longer
real, tells the historian about her/his [possibly changing nature what man has done and thus is (p.
10). Recall Thesis C2, which can be partially restated in a richer way when the ideality of history has
been more fully understood according to Thesis C5: [T]he historical process is a process in which
man creates for himself this or that kind of human nature by re-creating in his own thought the past to
which he is heir. (p. 226)

How is this kind of study of mind scientific?

Definition C7. (Defining features of any science, or scientific discipline). Science is a form of
thought characterized by the search for new knowledge, the Baconian discovery of answers to
specific questions, using appropriate methods, which may differ for different sciences. It usually
involves building on, revising, contributing to pre-existing organized bodies of knowledge. (pp. 9,
249, 269)

Thesis C6. (Contemporary history as a science). Contemporary history is a science that seeks to
discover res gestae: actions of human beings that been done in the past; from another angle, [a]ll
history is an attempt to understand the present by reconstructing its determining conditions, its past
necessities and its future possibilities. (pp 420-2).
Elaboration C6.1. History is a science whose business is to study events not accessible to our
observation, and to study these events inferentially, arguing to them from something else which is
accessible to our observation, and which the historian calls evidence for the events of interest. (p.
Elaboration C6.2. Most present-day historians of Collingwoods era would agree to a summary,
disciplinary characterization of history as a particular form of inquiry, with specific objects of
concern, proceeding in special ways, with a larger human purpose. Note the canonical mode of
presentation and the disciplinary should in the following: Historians nowadays think that history
should be (a) a science, or an answering of questions; (b) concerned with human actions in the past;
(c) pursued by interpretation of evidence; and (d) for the sake of human self-knowledge. (p. 10f)

It is very significant that Collingwoods concept of scientific history grows out of a
continuing, multi-faceted confrontation with positivism. Let us try to be more specific on this point.

Definition C8. (Positivism in its 19
century sense) Positivism may be defined as philosophy acting
in the service of natural scienceBut the positivists had a rather superficial notionof what
science was: first, ascertaining facts; secondly, framing laws. The facts were immediately
ascertained by sensuous perception. The laws were obtained by generalizing from these facts by
induction. (p. 126f) And historians influenced by the positivistic spirit instituted two methodological
rules regarding facts: Each fact was to be regarded as a thing capable of being ascertained by a
separate act of cognition or process of research[;] the historically knowable was cut up into an
infinity of minute facts each to be separately considered or sampled. [Secondly,] each fact was to
be thought of as independent of the knower, whose subjective viewpoint and evaluations were thus
to be eliminated. (p. 131)

Thesis C7. The resistance to positivism played a complex, determining role in the late 19
development of scientific history, as well as in Collingwoods own account of the development of
scientific history.
Elaboration C7.1. The broader story in the development of European historiography fits here. By the
middle of the 19
century historians [in Germany first, going back through Herder to Vico, as
evidenced by Neibuhrs thorough debunking of Livys history as too patriotic] had worked out a new
method of handling sources, the method of philological criticism. This essentially consisted of two
operations: first, the analysis of [literary or narrative] sourcesinto their component parts,
distinguishing earlier and later elements in them and thus enabling the historian to discriminate
between the more and the less trustworthy portions; and secondly, the internal criticism of even the
more trustworthy parts, showing how the authors point of view affected his statement of the facts
allowing the making of relevant adjustments (p. 130). This method spread, and taught historians that
they had a task of a quite special kind concerning which positivism had nothing useful to teach
them to ascertain facts by the use of this critical method, and to reject the [Comptean positivists]
invitation to hurry on to a supposed second stage, the discovery of general laws. (Ibid.) Hence
Rankes famous goal for history articulated in1874: to know the past wie es eigentlich gewesen.
(Ibid., including note 1) History was distinguishing itself as an autonomous study of facts, not as a
naturalistic science [consisting of] the knowledge of general laws (p. 131)
Elaboration C7.2. In the concluding section of the Epilegomena, Collingwoods fullest statement of
the principals of scientific history, he is quite emphatic on the latter point of Thesis C7: Throughout
this essay it has been necessary to engage in a running fight with what may be called a positivistic
conception, or rather misconception, of history, as the study of successive events lying in a dead past
(p. 228), open to classificatory and causal analysis as in Elaboration C1.3 above
. There is the
constant peril that historians may neglect their proper task of penetrating to the thought of the
agents whose acts they are studying and content themselves with determining the externals of these
acts, the kinds of things that can be studied statistically [rather than detecting the] thought behind
the facts about which [they are] generalizing. (Ibid.) In my historical sketch of the idea of history, I
have tried to show how history has at last escaped from a state of pupilage to natural science. (p.

Under this influence [there arose] a new kind of positivistic historiography. (p. 126f.)
Mommsen and Maitland were the best practitioners of this, but they never got to the larger laws they
were looking for, nor to persuasive answers to the larger questions concerning the rise and fall of
Rome. Bradleys Logic provides an excellent counterpoint here: Reality consists not [of
positivistically defined] isolated particulars nor of abstract universals but of individual facts whose
being is historical. (p. 141)


Thesis C7A. As evidence for the interpretive force of Thesis C7, here is a brief, citation free,
enumeration of ways in which this resistance motivates every Thesis given so far in the present
1) the distinction between natural and historical processes is between positivistic ways of thinking
appropriate for the naturalistic study of the external aspects of human actions and the historical study
of the inner aspects of such actions. This is perfectly clear from the immediate context of the
quotations used to state and elaborate Collingwoods Thesis C1.
2) Several distinctive features of historical processes such as the constitution of potentially decisive,
new and changing identities, laws and entities, and the intentional logical and historicity of such
processes are clearly not characteristic of the non-human naturalistic processes so captivating of the
positivistic mind. Nineteenth Century sociological positivism in particular tried to eliminate the role
of individuality in the drive to assimilate history to a natural science model.
3) The ideality of history as an object of study is a thesis developed in opposition to the positivistic
and universalistic assumption of a world of data created from supposedly continuingly real historical
facts whose patterns can be positivistically classified and analyzed. Collingwoods blistering attack
on the warping effects of positivistic ontologies on Toynbees pigeon-holing treatment of 21
civilizations -- it disallows overlapping and inter-penetrating internal relationships and dialectical
absorptions of older civilizations by newer ones -- is especially telling.

4) Many of the aspects of the Copernican Revolution constituting contemporary scientific history
are explicitly anti-positivistic. Collingwood specifically emphasizes the importance of focusing on
concrete particulars vs. timeless universals as a reaction to positivism, and the importance of the
distinctive methodologies of philology and the higher criticism of the actual authorship of Biblical
texts as giving history a space for a differentiated scientific existence.
5) Thesis C5 on the ideality of historical practice and the crucial role of re-enactment of past
experience in the present the living past -- is antithetical to the positivistic treatment of historical
sequences as temporal series of dead events.
6) Every feature of Thesis C6s disciplinary definition of scientific history represents a niche-carving
effort to preserve for history an honorable place in a world awed by the successes of naturalistic
scholarship by Newton, Darwin and Einstein, among others.

Even a distasteful pupilage can have some benefits.

Thesis 7B. Among the less negatively assessed contributions of naturalism or positivism at least
implicit in Collingwoods work should be mentioned the following: the idea of a science defined by
clear statements as to their topical foci, their ways of proceeding, their purposes of knowledge
enhancement (my somewhat ambivalent Elaboration C6.2 above); the contributions of Darwinian
evolution to the partial rehistoricizing of nature
; and the anciliary role that scientific studies in
archeology, demographics, statistics, etc., can contribute to the historians proper tasks.

As a concluding comment on Thesis 7B, I raise the issue of value neutrality, a subject an which
naturalistic science or history and scientific history seem to agree, but about which Collingwood has,
at different times and in different contexts, different things to say.
Surely Rankes influential
commitment to retelling the past as it actually happened is in part inspired by naturalistic and

Samuel Huntingtons civilizational analysis has been subjected to very similar criticisms (Alker
The victory of evolution in scientific circles meant that the positivistic reduction of history to
nature was qualified by a partial reduction of nature to history. (TIoH, p. 129)
Compare, for example, TIoH, p. 396, on the morals of historical accounts with p. 402 on the
challenges of passionless history.
humanistic philosophical ideals. On the other hand, under the press of World War II, Collingwood
also felt an historians humane obligations. Der Dussen says of Collingwoods The New Leviathan
that, confronted by the barbarism of fascism and Naziism, it attempts to develop a theory of duty
related to civilization and the gradual elimination of force from among the relations among people.
(TIoH, p. x). I am unable to pursue this point further here, there are nonetheless several idealistic,
enlightened, non-positivistic political-legal-philosophical theses about history, freedom and progress
in the Epilegomena which deserve our attention within a larger discussion of Collingwoods cross-
disciplinary methodological arguments. For Collingwood, they are benefits of the successful
resistance to naturalistic conceptions of history.

Historys Empirical and Emancipatory Methodology in Cross-Discipinary Perspective

In TIoH Collingwoods discussion of human freedom clearly puts him in the camp of
enlighted humanists and critical social theorists who see the emancipatory potential of scientific
knowledge. But his treatment is quite brief, lacking in examples and rather ontological in the sense of
the above thesis on the ideality of history. On the other hand, it is very much to his credit that the
extraordinarily rich notion of historical processes -- including the practice of history itself --
explicated above in Thesis C2 and Corollary C5.2 makes room for the growth of freedom and
progress, and collective self-redefinitions in such terms.

Definition C9. Recognizing the existence of compulsion in history, human freedom in history
consists in the fact this compulsion is imposed upon the activity of human reason not by anything
else, but by itself. The hard facts of the [difficult] situation [one must face] are the hard facts of the
way in which [one] conceives the situation [ones] inability to think of [ones] situation
otherwise. (p. 317)

Thesis C8. Consistent with Elaboration C6.2 above that history seeks self-knowledge and Definition
C9, [o]ur knowledge that human activity is free has been attained only through our discovery of
history. (p. 315). The disappearance of historical naturalism entails that the activity by which
man builds his own constantly changing historical world is a free activity. (Ibid.)
Elaboration C8.1. The recognition of the freedom of the human historical agent is simultaneous with
the recognition of the historians own disciplinary autonomy, but the relationship is not symmetric.
[W]e must first achieve a genuinely scientific and therefore autonomous method in historical study
before we can grasp the fact that human activity is free. (pp. 318-20)
Elaboration C8.1. Collingwood takes pains to indicate his awareness that some outstanding earlier
historians followed the standards of scientific history in certain respects, but, as elaborated upon
earlier, the consequence of a successful disciplinary revolution has meant that such
standards/methodology could now be expected of all practicing historians.

Definition C10. Although there is a sense in which progress refers to the ongoing steps and
situations in a human life, accepting that a form of life such as classical Athens or Rome -- should
be judged in its own terms regarding its own problems, progress can be defined in these terms.
Assuming that thoughts and actions can be re-enacted in different stages of the same entity, progress
occurs when, faced with a second, previously unsolved set of problems, thought/activity resolves
these problems without losing its hold on the solution of the first. (p. 329) Progress is a fact to be
discovered by historical thinking. (p. 333)

Thesis C9. (Progress as created by historical thinking). It is only through historical thinking that
[progress] comes about at all. The reason for this is that progress happens in only one way: by the
retention in the mind, at one phase, of what was achieved at the preceding phase. (Ibid.)
Elaboration C9.1. The clearest examples of such progress are in the natural sciences, where a
supercession of theories with in terms of cumulative increases in their explanatory power vis a vis
classes of phenomena. When Einstein, knowing Newtons thought and retaining it in his own,
retains the solution power of this earlier work and goes further with a disentangled version of that
earlier theory to resolve some new problems as well. (p. 332f)
Elaboration C9.2. A better economic system, one whose substitution for this would be a progress,
would continue to solve the same problems [such as economic growth] which are solved by
individual capitalism and solve these others [such as social security and economic cycles] as well.
Political and economic systems could be seen in the same way; religion, art and philosophy are
different. (Ibid.)

If these theses offer rather philosophical resolutions to important historical issues as
methodological claims in the rather Kantian philosophical sense that Collingwood gives to that term,
does he have anything to say about concrete empirical investigations? Here, I was initially
disappointed with the main text of TIoH.
But Der Dussens appending of several earlier lectures on
similar themes is immensely helpful from this perspective, in particular the 67 pages of verbatim
1926 Lectures on the Philosophy of History, pp. 359-425 of TIoH. The fact that Collingwood was a
leading archeological scholar of Roman Britain gives him real stature in this regard as well.

Thesis C10. (The situated and dialogical building of historical knowledge) Once the ideality of
history and historical facts is recognized with the result that it was so and the historical evidence
now at hand indicate that it was so are treated as equivalent (Corollary C5.1) in the construction of
the truer, dialectically-structured narratives they seek, historians must attempt to discover multiple
sources related to the question they are asking, and seek to uncover the frame of mind behind them
using principled, but concrete, practical reasoning, as well as both their historical, natural scientific
and technical knowledge. The process has many features of dialogical argumentation, interpretive
analysis and judgment in particular the (virtual) cross-examination of witnesses and the
imaginative, hypothetical, context-sensitive decomposition and reconstitution of objects and texts
from the past. (TIoH, esp. 234-257, 268-82, 377-88, 415-17, 490-96; compare Alker 1996, Ch.12 on
The Return of Practical Reason to International Theory)
Elaboration C10.1. Historical research has been greatly enriched by the addition of new
interpretations based on ancient coins, pottery, monumental inscriptions, architectural and other
archeological sources, and related sciences. (esp. p. 490ff.)
Elaboration C10.2. Because we typically situate ourselves in a present which has developed in
opposition to the recent past, and the future is the negation of the entire past, the formula for the
structure of history [and historical narratives, as discovered by Hegel] is that A changes into its
opposite not-A, and the complex period composed of A and not-A [the current present and its
previous phase, which it contains through opposition in its current thoughts] together changes into a
new period B[the future as a new present], which is its opposite. Every period is thus the opposite of
all that has gone before, not merely of its last phase; which is self-evident, for the present is the
opposite not of the immediate past but of the past. (p. 416) For example, according to Hegel, every
historical process is a dialectical process in which one form of life, for example Greece, generates its
own opposite, in this case Rome, and out of this thesis and antithesis there arises a synthesis, in this
case the Christian world. (p. 119)

The partial exceptions were:
a) a stylized recapitulation of the stages between scissors and paste history, critical history, and
scientific history;
b) a rather cute example of the detectives reasoned sorting through the puzzles of a parsonage
murder case offered as an illustration of how the historian uses evidence; and
c) occasional illuminating asides on classical historical issues.
Elaboration C10.3 So long as the open-ended time span and objectives of historical writing is
remembered, the analogy between legal methods [imaginative, investigative inferencing and the
cross-examination of previous narrators as if they were witnesses, in particular] and historical
methods is of some value for the understanding of history. (p. 268, p. 378)
Elaboration C10.4. The interpretation of sources must proceed according to [heuristic] principles.
For example, consider that a special kind of script is characteristic of English thirteenth-century
writing, or that silver coinage suddenly becomes very rare in the early fifth century A.D., or that
official documents tend to exaggerate successes and minimize failures. (p. 385) More indirectly
inferential and context-dependent is Collingwoods rejection of Suetoniuss suggestion that Nero at
one point intended to evacuate Roman Britain because he generally prefers Tacituss alternative
account and I find myself able to incorporate what Tacitus tells me into a coherent and continuous
picture of my own, and cannot do this for Suetonius. (p. 245)
Elaboration C10.5. In trying to ascertain past facts, the historian recognizes that no historical fact
can be truly ascertained until we have ascertained its relations with its context. The so-called theory
of external relations is a true account of the relations in mathematics, but a wholly false account
of those that are found in history. All history consists of narratives made up of internal/contextual
relations, not an enumeration of distinct events; (p. 419) it is not the [positivist] study of
successive events lying in a dead past. (Elaboration C7.2)

Concluding Reflections: Linking Scientific History to Other Research Methodologies

Although my own position on such issues is not identical with Collingwoods
, in restating a
relatively compact and integrated version of his claims, I have been proceding dialectically, via
implicit contradictions. It is time to make them explicit. Collingwoods views are in remarkably direct
contrast to the naturalistic/positivistic methodological texts now popular among many Political
Scientists, texts such as (van Evera 1997; and King, Keohane and Verba, 1994), which, to my
knowledge, pay no or little attention to the existence oft nonnaturalistic, humanistically motivated,
scientific modes of historical inquiry.
Statistically oriented social scientific textbooks used over the
last several decades by Political Scientists often the only technically rigorous methodogical course
required in their Ph.D programs -- are no better in this regard.

In my own research I have gradually come to a related, but somewhat different possible outcome of such
discussions: advocating the view that the social sciences might beneficially redefine themselves as involving
appropriate syntheses of the humanities (including philosophy, rhetoric, literary analysis and historical study)
and the natural-technological sciences (Alker 1996). This helps to explain why I here have frequently
mentioned the operational i mplications of what Collingwood refers to as his empirical methodology.
In the tradition of Alex George, van Evera does briefly discuss the importance of quasi-historical process
tracing, but fails to follow up Georges own footnotes to the richer process-representing, problem-oriented
traditions of organizational decision-making simulations, advocating simple causal arrow diagramatics
This applies to my own introduction of a required Political Statistics course at Yale in the mid-1960s and
later, causally oriented treatments of multivariate statistics taught at MIT such as (Alker 1966 and 1970;
King 1989). The main course materials at Yale were Blalocks (1960) social statistics text as supplemented
lectures outlined in (Alker 1965). In my partial defense, I should say that I tried to link my statistical analyses
with a trend-sensitive, choice-oriented kind of Lasswellian policy analysis, and repeatedly cited MacIntyres
challenge to account for why social actors used one rule to justify their actions on some occasions, and
another rule on others. The larger contradictions between statistical modeling approaches and intentionally
oriented social action modeling of which game theory is an important special case are more seriously
addressed in (Alker 1974 and 1975). On game theory, see also the concluding chapters of (Lakoff and
Johnson 1999).
Although far short of the political relevance of Habermasian communicative rationality or
Wittgensteinian language games, instrumentalist game theoretic representations of interactive choice
trajectories must be seen as progress in this regard (See Alker 1996, Chs. 6, 9 and 12; Hollis 1987). It
was the anti-hermeneutical practices of most context-insensitive political data making that I similarly
tried to reformulate in my 1975 treatment of the descriptive foundations of Poli(s)metrics, ending
with the radical suggestion that Abelson-Schank intentionalist belief system modeling of Third World
views in the New International Economic Order debates , grounded in Filmore-Schank computational
linguistics, was a more adequate way of representing argumentative human social (inter-) actions than
the simplistic operational models of conventional statistics.

Surely the contrast between naturalistic and historical-interpretive processes and associated
modes of analysis is give much weightier and more balanced attention in Hollis and Smiths 1991 text
on Explaining and Understanding International Relations a widely used text in Anglo-American
International Relations programs. Hollis and Smith opt for the necessity of telling understanding
stories (very much like Collingwoods or Max Webers contexted intentionalist accounts) as well as
more naturalistic, possibly causal explanatory stories. Although their conclusions arent very
optimistic about appropriate syntheses of explanation and understanding concerns, I and others at
USC have that text pedagogically valuable in conveying what Habermas has called the difference
between positive and hermeneutic or practical knowledge interests. Collingwoods
emancipatory concern with historical progress and regress goes further towards incorporating the
humanistic emancipatory knowledge interest a center piece of Habermasian critical theory as well --
in a more comprehensive account of sociohistorical research practices.

Collingwood sees human interaction sequences as conditioning but not causing the situational
redefinitions and responses of another part. Purposes may motivate, be expressed by, or
psychologically cause such actions. The representation of intentional interactions in terms of
intersecting chains of practical syllogisms is one of the best ideas I have found in my own research
for representing such interactions, besides Abelson-Schank-Lehnert plans, scripts and thematic plot
units , for integrating such positive, hermeneutic and emancipatory knowledge interests in historically
oriented international studies. (Alker 1996, Chs. 3,5, 10-12).

Even more recently, with my rereading of Collingwood together with M. A. K. Hallidays
ethnographically oriented approach to functional linguistics (Halliday 1994, esp. Chs. 1 and 5;
Halliday and Matthiessen 1999), I have come better to understand Alex Wendts emphatic
reintroduction of the distinction between causal and constitutive theorizing of international politics.
(Wendt 1998 and 1999, especially pp. 77-88). In his Social Theory of International Politics Wendt
comes to this distinction after making a careful case for philosophical idealism my which he means
the fundamental importance for society of the nature and structure of social consciousnessthe
distribution of ideas or knowledge (p. 24). Such structures play roles in giving meanings to material
factors, in constituting identities and interests,helping actors find common solutions to
problemsdefining expectations for behaviorconstituting threats, and so on. (Ibid.). Against this
background, Wendt says that post-positivists who often focus on the importance of idealistic,
cultural factors in defining interests, identities and problems think it legitimate only to ask
constitutive how possible or what is it constituted of? questions, while positivists think they are
following naturalistic causal concerns with Why? and, to a lesser extent, How? questions (p. 78).
He argues they confuse this distinction with the natural vs social scientific distinction because natural
and social scientists ask both kinds of these questions. For example, physicists are very concerned

In IR513 for the last two years, Rob English and I have introduced the theme of emancipatory knowledge
interests several ways, principally through the use of Brooke Ackerlys Political Theory and Feminist Social
with the constitution of matter and of the cosmos, and Weberian philosophical idealists often argue
the explanatory role of cultural and religious understandings. Renaming Wendts post-positivists as
anti-positivists, these seem very like Collingwoods anti-positivistic scientific historians, as
contrasted with positivistic historiographers or social scientists. When Hollis and Smith talk of
Winchean (rather than Weberian) seekers after understanding, in contrast with those seeking causal
explanations, they seem to be mapping very similar contrasts.

In his discussions, Collingwood emphasizes natural and historical processes, differentiated in
terms of inner -- subjective, conscious aspects -- and outer aspects -- objective, materially describable
event sequences. His ontological cum discipline constituting treatment of history as subject
reenactments of past thoughts similarly emphasizes the inner, philosophically idealist dimensions of
things. Both Collingwood and Wendt are further clarified by Hallidays functionalist account of how
English (and many other, but possibly not all other) languages construct/express meanings. He treats
Englishs slowly changing grammar of clauses as embodying human experiences of nature as made
up of processes. (Halliday 1994:106), with clauses typically composed of process characterizations
(verbal groups), participants (nominal groups) and circumstances (adverbial groups or prepositional
phrases). (Ibid., p. 108f.) From an empirical study of how the transitivity system relating these
elements works, Halliday shows how our language construes our experience in a variety of 3 basic
and 3 composite process types. (Ibid., p. 106ff. See below his circular picture of English process
types, of the grammar of experience.)

There is a basic difference, that we become aware of at a very early age between inner
and outer experience: between what we experience as going on out there, in the world
around us, and what we experience as going on inside ourselves, in the world of
consciousness and imagination. The prototypical form of the outer experience is that of
actions and events: things happen, and people, or other actors, make them happen. The
inner experience is partly a kind of replay of the outer, recording it, reacting to it,
reflecting on it, and partly an awareness of our states of being.The grammatical
categories [reflecting outer experiences of external processes] are those of MATERIAL
processes and [reflecting inner experiences, the processes of consciousness] MENTAL
processes.But there is a third component[abstractly relating] one fragment of
experience to another[grammatically recognized] processes of a third typethose of
classifying and identifyingRELATIONAL processes. (Halliday 1994: 106f.)

Not only does Hallidays basic distinction between Material, Mental and abstract Relational
process types get introduced in terms of language and distinctions almost identical to Collingwoods
texts written some 50 years earlier --- defining reenactment as replay of reflections and
awarenesses would be easy, for example Halliday continues for 70 pages to elaborate with
concrete conversational and textual examples how these clause-process types alternatively describe
as Being, Sensing and Doing -- and their subtypes and composites do the work of representing human

Dialectically, I have been aiming towards a synthesis: identifying certain desirable future,
alternative, post-positivistic.
not particularly statistical, research strategies as a contribution to the
globally oriented, pluralistic methodological training that in its more international moments -- the
Perestroika movement has attempted to foster. The Collingwood-Wendt-Halliday approach to the

Against Wendts choice of terminology (but not his own research practices), and with Josef Lapid, I want
to preserve post-positivist for research epistemologies and strategies which attempt to build on, as well as
go beyond, positivistic/naturalistic perspectives.
roles of language and consciousness in the shaping of politics and international relations has emerged
as such a synthesis.

Of course there are others.

But, in particular, the Collingwood-Wendt-Halliday line of research is particularly rich in
operational suggestiveness. In an earlier paper (Alker 2000) I have spelled out an illustrated list of
ways of linguistically and computationally sophisticated ways of tackling issues of international
political change along Wendtian lines. What the present unfolding synthesis suggests is even more
richly concrete. By giving us an empirically grounded 12 part categorization of ways in which our
language constitutes and reflects both internal and external realities, Halliday helps us to linguistically
reformulate, resolve and transcend the idealist-materialist disputes dividing much current
International Relations research. Social constructivism, the performative role of language, the
importance of the historical imagination all become part of historical processes which Hallidays
schema elucidates. Process tracing can take on ontological and epistemological dimensions, when
we realize, according to the typology above, that acting, creating, changing, being created are
material processes, and that existing, having identity, and saying are abstract, cognitive, relational
modes of being as well.

Pedagogically, (Juarerro, 1999) was the first well exposited, synthetic book of this sort that I have found,
although its level of detail is probably too great for an introductory graduate course with as many different
purposes as IR513. It combines a reasonably current understanding of complex natural processes with a
sophisticated, humanistic philosophical understanding of the problems of accounting for voluntaris tic human
action. She argues that the reality of chaotic dynamics in complex biosocial systems justifies traditional,
interpretively sophisticated, historical research strategies, open to novel surprises. A judicious mix of these
analytical strategies appears, to my mind, appropriate. For the technically proficient, economically oriented,
(Mirkowski 2000) also belongs on such a list, suggesting a von Neumann-esque reformulation of cyborg-
relevant research strategies.

Figure 1: Types of Processes in English Grammar (Halliday 1994: cover)



B. A. Ackerly (2000). Political Theory and Feminist Social Criticism. Cambridge University Press, New York.

H. R. Alker (1965). Mathematics and Politics. Macmillan, New York.

H. R. Alker (1966). Causal Inference and Political Analysis, in J. Bernd, ed., Mathematical Applications in Political
Science, II. S.M.U. Press, Dallas.

H. R. Alker (1970). Statistics and Politics: The need for causal data analysis, in S. M. Lipset, ed., Politics and the Social
Sciences, Oxford University Press, New York.

H. R. Alker (1974). Are there Structural Models of Voluntaristic Social Action? Quality and Quantity, 8:199-246.

H. R. Alker (1975). Polimetrics: Its descriptive foundations, in N. Polsby and F. Greenstein, eds., Handbook of Political
Science, vol. 7: 139-211.

H. R. Alker (1981). Dialectical Foundations of Global Disparities. International Studies Quarterly, 25/1:69-98.

H. R. Alker (1984). Historical Argumentation and Statistical Inference: Towards More Appropriate Logics for Historical
Research. Historical Methods, 17,3:164-173; Errata 17/4:270.

H. R. Alker (1992). Historicity for Beginners: Can it be rightly taught? WZB Mitteilungen 56:45-47. Revised and
incorporated into Chapter 11 of (Alker 1996).

Alker, H.R. (1995) "If not Huntington's Civilizations, then Whose?," Review, fall, Vol. XVIII, No.4 (Fall 1995): 533-562

H. R. Alker (1996). Rediscoveries and Reformulations: Humanistic Methodologies for International Studies, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996.

H. R. Alker (2000). Learning from Wendt. Review of International Studies. Special Issue.

H. R. Alker, T. Amin, T. Biersteker, T. Inoguchi (1999). Theorizing World Orders, unpublished manuscript.

H. R. Alker and S. Frasier (1996). On Historical Complexity, Unpublished paper given at the Annual Meeting of the
American Political Science Association.

G. Barraclough (1979). The Search for Meaning in History: National History, Comparative History and Meta-history,
Ch. 5 in Main Trends in History. Holmes and Meier, London and New York.

R. G. Collingwood (1992, originally 1942). Oxford.The New Leviathan. Edited by D. Boucher.

R. G. Collingwood (1994, originally 1946). The Idea of History, Revised Edition with an Introduction and additional
material edited by Jan van der Dussen, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

K. W. Deutsch (1966). The Nerves of Government: Models of Political Communication and Control. paperback edition,
Free Press, New York.

P. Edwards (1996). The Closed World. MIT Press, Cambridge.

M. A. K. Halliday (1994). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, 2
Edition.Edward Arnold, London.

M. A. K. Halliday and C. M.I.M. Matthiessen (1999). Construing Experience Through Meaning: A Language-based
approach to cognition. Continuum, London and Melbourne.
M. Hollis (1987). The Cunning of Reason. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
M. Hollis and S. Smith (1991). Explaining and Understanding International Relations. Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK.

A. Juarrero (1999). Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavor as a Complex System, MIT Press, Cambridge.

H. Kelman (199x).

P. M. Kennedy (1973). The Decline of Nationalistic History in the West, 1900-1970, Journal of Contemporary History,
8,1(January 1973): 77-100.

G. King (1989). Unifying Political Methodology: The Liklihood Theory of Statistical Inference, Cambridge U. Press.

G. King, R. Keohane and S. Verba (1994). Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton University Press.

G. Lakoff and M. Turner (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh. Basic Books, New York.

P. Mirowski (2002). Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science, Cambridge University Press, New York.

A. Rapoport (1960). Fights, Games, and Debates. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.

R. Schank and R. Abelson (1977). Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding. Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.

M. Shapiro and H. R. Alker (1996) Challenging Boundaries: Global Flows, Territorial Identities. University of Minnesota
Press, Minneapolis.

Social Science Research Council (2002). 9/11 Website. See

Stephen van Evera (1997). Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science, Cornell U. Press, Ithaca, NY.

A. Wendt (1998) On constitution and causation in international relations, Review of International Studies, 24 (Special
Issue): 101-117.

A. Wendt (1999). Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.