Whenever there is more than one approach, there will be conflicts about when we should use which one. Some have claimed that the RC approach is the only scientific approach in the social sciences, and since you cannot beat something with nothing, it follows that this approach is the only game in town (Riker 1990). If they were right, this book would be unnecessary. But I do not think they are, nor do I think most RC theorists would agree with them. Others have claimed that (all) theories based on the RC approach are falsified or unfalsifiable; I do not think they are right, either, and obviously RC theorists share my view. Instead most — both RC theorists and others — think that the RC approach has its uses, and that other approaches have theirs. For example, the RC approach is said to be ‘a tool in a toolbox’, one that is useful for some purposes but not for all. This book has argued that the RC approach has great potential for asking and answering important questions in most areas of political science, but also that there are many kinds of questions that it cannot ask, much less answer. Some sort of middle position is obviously called for. If the tool in a toolbox view was the only possible such position then clearly this is where we would have to place ourselves. But some have proposed a different view, according to which other approaches have their uses but which gives the RC approach a special position. The RC approach, it is argued, is a privileged approach: it is the approach that should be used first, and only when it fails should we turn to other approaches. When making our final comments about the role of the RC approach in political science, we should therefore see if there are reasons to give this approach a special place.
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