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Trust and Uncertainty in International Relations

Matheny, Adam LU (2012) STVK01 20121
Department of Political Science
Abstract
The topic of international trust is contentious within International Relations. If states cannot trust each other doubts are cast on the possibility of them cooperating at all. According to offensive realism states can not trust each other because states can never be sure about other states’ intentions. In this paper I will test this theory by seeking an answer to the question does uncertainty rule out trust in international relations?
I will do so by clarifying what uncertainty actually means in the context of International Relations, and argue that the offensive realist claim that states can never be sure about other states’ intentions is based on a trivial, technical and ultimately erroneous use of the term ‘certainty’. With the aid of... (More)
The topic of international trust is contentious within International Relations. If states cannot trust each other doubts are cast on the possibility of them cooperating at all. According to offensive realism states can not trust each other because states can never be sure about other states’ intentions. In this paper I will test this theory by seeking an answer to the question does uncertainty rule out trust in international relations?
I will do so by clarifying what uncertainty actually means in the context of International Relations, and argue that the offensive realist claim that states can never be sure about other states’ intentions is based on a trivial, technical and ultimately erroneous use of the term ‘certainty’. With the aid of epistemology and the philosophy of science I will show that the theory presented by offensive realism on the topic of trust is incoherent and therefore conclude that uncertainty does not, in fact, rule out trust in international relations. However, whether or not such trust can actually be achieved remains to be seen. (Less)
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author
Matheny, Adam LU
supervisor
organization
course
STVK01 20121
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
International Relations, Offensive Realism, Trust, Cooperation, Certainty, John J. Mearsheimer, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology
language
English
id
2542890
date added to LUP
2012-06-27 10:47:27
date last changed
2012-06-27 10:47:27
@misc{2542890,
  abstract     = {The topic of international trust is contentious within International Relations. If states cannot trust each other doubts are cast on the possibility of them cooperating at all. According to offensive realism states can not trust each other because states can never be sure about other states’ intentions. In this paper I will test this theory by seeking an answer to the question does uncertainty rule out trust in international relations?
I will do so by clarifying what uncertainty actually means in the context of International Relations, and argue that the offensive realist claim that states can never be sure about other states’ intentions is based on a trivial, technical and ultimately erroneous use of the term ‘certainty’. With the aid of epistemology and the philosophy of science I will show that the theory presented by offensive realism on the topic of trust is incoherent and therefore conclude that uncertainty does not, in fact, rule out trust in international relations. However, whether or not such trust can actually be achieved remains to be seen.},
  author       = {Matheny, Adam},
  keyword      = {International Relations,Offensive Realism,Trust,Cooperation,Certainty,John J. Mearsheimer,Philosophy of Science,Epistemology},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Trust and Uncertainty in International Relations},
  year         = {2012},
}