chapter  12
12 Pages

‘‘Hi-tech hermeneutics’’: combining rigor and alternative epistemologies of social science

In the introductory chapter to his 1996 collection of papers, Hayward Alker characterized his efforts as “that of adapting the logically informed analyticalempirical philosophies of research to humanistic, dialectical-hermeneutic purposes” (Alker 1996: 7). For years, Alker argued vigorously against the shortcomings of behavioralist and rational choice research agendas in international relations and wrote numerous papers applying various formal methodologies to recurring questions about politics, domination, and emancipation. These papers, even decades after their initial appearance, continue to sparkle; what they do not do, however, is to provide a more general argument for whether “logically informed ... philosophies of research” really can, or for that matter, should be “adapted” to “humanistic, dialectical-hermeneutic purposes.” My argument in this chapter is that such adaptation is indeed possible and useful, but that the “purposes” in question, though certainly hermeneutic, are likely to be far less humanistic than Alker might have thought.