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Forbidden Fruit:
Counterfactuals and International Relations
Richard Ned Lebow

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]

ENDORSEMENTS:

"Forbidden Fruit is the kind of border-busting book that takes scholars to places they would otherwise never find, let alone inhabit. Some of those places are well outside our comfort zones, so be prepared to be infuriated. Then get over it. Forbidden Fruit will help you become more creative, self-aware, and careful, and in doing so it will make you a better social scientist."--Colin Elman, Maxwell School of Syracuse University

"Forbidden Fruit provides a fascinating study of the use and misuse of counterfactual analysis. Lebow demonstrates the ubiquity of counterfactual assumptions and the importance of making them carefully. He outlines clear criteria for constructing and assessing counterfactuals, and offers practical suggestions for balancing conflicting cognitive biases to improve assessments of historical pasts and probable futures. This book deserves the attention of anyone who predicts, explains, thinks, or invests."--Andrew Bennett, Georgetown University

"Lebow uses counterfactual reasoning to probe the limits of international relations theory and to push us to think more carefully about how we understand causation. He seeks to convince a field still dominated by systemic and structural theorists that more attention needs to be paid to contingency, multiple causal factors, and the interaction and confluence of factors. Lebow illustrates how overconfident and indeterminate most international relations theory actually is."--Richard Herrmann, Ohio State University

"Forbidden Fruit is a wonderful book. Lebow is a prominent social scientist, exceedingly well versed in methodological issues and deeply immersed in social psychology. He does an excellent job of demonstrating that counterfactual reasoning is indispensable to theory-driven social science and the writing of good history. Lebow is a gifted storyteller. His conclusions feel like they are as inevitable as they are surprising."--Nicholas Onuf, professor emeritus, Florida International University

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File created: 4/17/2014

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