Parsons, Craig. (1999) "Showing Ideas as Causes: The Origins of the European Union. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Unpublished)
This article attempts to construct a bridge across [the] divide. It argues that the “interpretive” methodologies usually used by ideational arguments are inherently unable to persuade skeptics-but that other methods are available to do so. In many cases, the causal impact of ideas can be measured using methods similar to those of objective, positivistic approaches. It then demonstrates one such method in a major historical case, showing the measurable casual impact of ideas in the early origins of the European Union (EU). Without certain ideas, European integration in the 1950s and 1960s would have taken a very different form. Rather than undertaking history’s greatest experiment in international institution-building, West Europeans would have pursued prosperity and power through more standard diplomatic instruments. Ideas alone explain why today’s Europe reflects the exception, not the rule, in the weakly institutionalized world of international relations.
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