Hans Morgenthau, Realism, and the Scientific Study of International Politics

Jervis, Robert

This article explores the conception of realism by political science scholar Hans Morgenthau and his contribution to the scientific study of international politics in the U.S. Morgenthau's stress on the centrality of the national interest was important in the U.S. context for what it denied: that states should follow either sub-national or supra-national interests. As central to the analysis as the national interest was power. Perhaps his most famous sentence is that the main signpost that helps political realism to find its way through the landscape of international politics is the concept of interest defined in terms of power. Morgenthau's conception of realism does not lead to specific policy prescriptions or detailed propositions for empirical research.


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Political Science
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March 5, 2015