Toward a Scientific Theory of War


The scholars most frequently credited with development of the quantitative empirical study of war include Frederick Adams Woods, Alexander Baltzly, Pitirim A. Sorokin, Quincy Wright, Lewis Fry Richardson, Karl Deutsch, and J. David Singer. Of this set, the contributions of David Singer to the scientiac study of international conbict will be judged as paramount. Although Woods and Baltzly (1915), Sorokin (1937), Wright (1942), and Richardson (1960) all compiled data on wars, Singer’s efforts with the Correlates of War (COW) Project stand alone. Over the last four decades, the vast majority of systematic scientiac analyses conducted on the subject of international conbict have employed some component of the expansive COW Project database. Today, our empirical knowledge of the factors associated with patterns of war and peace is attributable largely to the vision of David Singer.1 The Correlates of War Project had its genesis in 1963 with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation to the Center for Research on Conbict Resolution at the University of Michigan. A portion of this grant went to David Singer for the study of war. As did Sorokin, Wright, and Richardson, Singer and his associate Melvin Small culled historical materials for information on war—in this case the frequency, participants, duration, and battle deaths of all wars since 1816 (Singer and Small 1972; Small and Singer 1982). Additional data sets were generated dealing with militarized interstate disputes, alliance membership, diplomatic ties, geographic proximity, territorial changes, intergovernmental organizations, civil wars, and national material capabilities (inclusive of the military, economic, and demographic dimensions of power).2 Singer believed that with few exceptions most previous analyses on the causes of war were insufaciently systematic and rigorous. Even the work conducted by Sorokin (1937), Wright (1942), and Richardson

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@inproceedings{Geller2006TowardAS, title={Toward a Scientific Theory of War}, author={Daniel S. Geller and Frederick Adams Woods and Alexan- der Baltzly and Pitirim A. Sorokin and Quincy Wright and Lewis Fry Richardson and Karl W. Deutsch}, year={2006} }