Hidemi Suganami

in On the Causes of War

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198273387
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191684043 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


The study of international relations in general, and that of the causes of war in particular, is dominated by ‘non-philosophers.’ This book investigates the causes of war by focusing on three questions: What are the conditions which must be present for wars to occur? Under what sorts of circumstances have wars occurred more frequently? How did this particular war come about? The book looks at war among states and focuses on actual wars that are all instances of ‘international war’. Kenneth Waltz has argued that attempts to explain war in terms of the nature of man and the nature of the state are unsatisfactory because they fail to take into account the nature of the international system. Earlier attempts, such as those of Waltz, and Keith Nelson and Spencer Olin, to select or construct a plausible theory of war by classifying and scrutinizing existing theories are unsatisfactory because they failed to take seriously the philosophical problems of causation and explanation. ‘Theorizing’ via ‘mapping’ needs to incorporate ‘bridge-building’ between the empirical and the conceptual.

Keywords: Kenneth Waltz; theory of war; causes of war; international relations; states; Spencer Olin; Keith Nelson; theorizing; mapping; bridge-building

Chapter.  3753 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.