God gave physics the easy problems: adapting social science to an unpredictable world
For conceptual and empirical reasons the quest for predictive theory rests on a mistaken analogy between physical and social phenomena. Evolutionary biology is a more productive analogy for social science. We explore the value of this analogy in its `hard’ and `soft’ versions, and examine the implications of both for theory and research in International Relations. We develop the case for forward `tracking’ of International Relations on the basis of local and general knowledge as a constructive response to the problems we identify in backward-looking attempts to build deductive, nomothetic theory.