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State Personhood, Reality or Fiction? The Divergent Views of C. Escudé (1994) and A. Wendt (2004)


  • Carlos Escudé


This paper counterpoises Carlos Escudé's 1994, 1995 and 1997 treatment of anthropomorphic metaphors of the state, with Alexander Wendt's 2004 treatment of the same subject. It stresses the need for a historical memory in IR scholarship, suggesting that the lack of an epistemological equivalent to the concept of ‘discovery’ in the harder sciences may open the way for less-than-scholarly attitudes towards precedents, making the accumulation of knowledge less likely. It discusses whether or not state personhood is actually a fiction. Finally, it explores the consequences, for IR theory in general and peripheral realist theory in particular, of state personhood being indeed a harmful fiction. The author argues that if anthropomorphisms of the state lead to fallacy, then Hedley Bull’s domestic analogy is likewise fallacious. And if this is the case, the hierarchy of the structure of the interstate system is exposed, together with Waltz’s error in postulating an anarchy.

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  • Carlos Escudé, 2010. "State Personhood, Reality or Fiction? The Divergent Views of C. Escudé (1994) and A. Wendt (2004)," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 438, Universidad del CEMA.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:438

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    1. McNollgast, 2007. "The Political Economy of Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
    3. Robert J. Leonard, 1992. "Reading Cournot, Reading Nash / or / The Emergence and Stabilization of the Nash equilibrium," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9214, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
    4. Harsanyi, John C, 1995. "Games with Incomplete Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 291-303, June.
    5. Elinor Ostrom, 2010. "Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 641-672, June.
    6. Coase, R H, 1976. "Adam Smith's Views of Man," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 529-546, October.
    7. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
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