2020
DOI: 10.1017/s1752971920000524
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Kenneth Waltz's approach to reading classic political theory and why it matters

Abstract: How did Kenneth Waltz read canonical theoretical texts? Waltz understood himself first as a political theorist and remained committed to interpreting political thought throughout his career. This paper briefly delineates Waltz's method for reading political theory. I identify four elements of Waltz's approach: it was purposive, explanatory, textualist, and anti-esoteric. First, he thought texts could best be linked to one another and compared purposively, by aligning the questions they asked. Second, he unders… Show more

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Cited by 3 publications
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“…Waltz identified Rousseau as exemplary of the structural approach war occurrence and Montesquieu as Rousseau’s predecessor (1959, 165–86); for evidence of his interpretation, see (Montesquieu 1989, 7; Rousseau 1991; 2012). Waltz studied Hegel in Franz Neumann’s seminar at Columbia (MacKay 2022, 347) and would later claim Rousseau’s account of the origins of war “parallels Hegel’s formulation” (1959, 182).…”
mentioning
confidence: 99%
“…Waltz identified Rousseau as exemplary of the structural approach war occurrence and Montesquieu as Rousseau’s predecessor (1959, 165–86); for evidence of his interpretation, see (Montesquieu 1989, 7; Rousseau 1991; 2012). Waltz studied Hegel in Franz Neumann’s seminar at Columbia (MacKay 2022, 347) and would later claim Rousseau’s account of the origins of war “parallels Hegel’s formulation” (1959, 182).…”
mentioning
confidence: 99%