Do we no longer need political theory?

Observing the History of Political Philosophy: An Analysis of Easton’s Theory

Many people assumed that political theory had died out by the middle of the twentieth century, and they were correct. There were those who thought that it was on its way down at the moment. Many people were under the impression that it had died. A rumour circulated that political philosophy was being held hostage in a lion’s den. This gloomy attitude arose as a result of the classical heritage of political theory being filled with value judgements that are impossible to control empirically in the first place. Later on, the behaviourists joined the logical positivists in criticising normative theory, which began in the 1930s. Easton asserted that political philosophy had lost its constructive purpose as a result of its preoccupation with some type of historical form. William Dunning, Charles H. Mcllwain, and George M. Sabine were among the political philosophers who were influenced by historicism. Students have been deterred from continuing a comprehensive study of value theory as a result of this school of political theory, which does not take into consideration historical and philosophical elements.

In the course of his investigation, Easton was able to identify why political philosophy had descended into historical materialism. In the first place, political scientists have a proclivity to conform to the moral standards of their period, which results in a lack of originality in their work. It is important to note that the emphasis is not on determining whether or not a moral value is desirable, but on discovering and exposing it. Existing ideas are strengthened as a result of historical events. Second, moral relativism bears some of the responsibility for the historical importance accorded to the concept. Historialism, moral relativism, hyper factualism, and positivism were all identified as reasons in the decline of political philosophy as a whole by the author.

Revival of Political Theory

In the 1930s, political theory began investigating the history of ideas with the goal of defending liberal democratic theory against the totalitarian principles of communism, fascism, and nazism, among other movements. To regulate human behaviour and to promote Merriam’s aims and direction, Lasswell created a scientific political theory with the goal of advancing Merriam’s objectives and direction. In contrast to the traditional method, scientific political theory describes rather than prescribes policy options. Arendt, Theodor Adorno, Marcuse, and Leo Strauss were all influential political theorists in the traditional meaning of the phrase. They had ideas that were diametrically opposed to those held by the bulk of American political scientists, who were pro-liberalism, pro-science, and pro-human knowledge progress. Political messianism and utopianism are both viewed with suspicion by all of them, to some extent. As a starting point for her critique of behaviourism, Arendt emphasised the importance of the human person’s individuality and responsibility. She asserted that the pursuit of behavioural consistency in human nature has only contributed to the development of racial stereotypes about individuals.

Strauss’s View on Political Philosophy and the New Political Science: The Way Forward

As Strauss points out, classical political theory is still relevant in terms of resolving the current predicament. Consequently, he does not accept the claim that every political theory has an ideological character and is driven by the potential to discover the principles of social order; as a result, he does not agree with the assumption that all political theory has a specific socio-economic purpose. It is necessary to be a competent political philosopher to have a great interest in the search of truth in order to be successful. A critical examination is conducted of the coherence and consistency of previously held philosophical ideas. Political theorists of the past are superior to us now because they were clever and systematic in their research and development. Strauss examines the methods and aims of the “new” political science and comes to the conclusion that it falls short of classical political theory, particularly Aristotle’s, in terms of rigour and effectiveness. According to Aristotle, a political philosopher or political scientist must be objective since he has a greater understanding of human aims than the general public.

Theoretical and Practical Philosophy: The Role of Behaviouralism and Positivism in the Context of Totalitarianism

Philosophical disciplines such as political science and political philosophy both contain theoretical and practical components, which is similar to the structure of philosophy as a whole. Furthermore, Aristotle’s political science evaluates political issues, defends the independence of prudential judgement in practical affairs, and considers political activity to be inherently ethical in character. Because it distinguishes between political philosophy and political science, Behaviouralism runs counter to these principles because it substitutes political philosophy for the distinction between theoretical and practical sciences. It believes that applied sciences are descended from theoretical sciences, but not in the same manner as the classical tradition believes they are descended from theoretical sciences. Positivism and behaviourism are both harmful because they reject understanding of the fundamental concepts that underpin their beliefs. Clearly, they have failed because they look impotent in the face of the rise of totalitarianism and are unable to distinguish between the good and the bad, the right and the unjust. He claims that the new science is to blame for the collapse of political theory since it both identified and assisted in the West’s general political issue by ignoring normative considerations. Strauss takes issue with Easton’s claim of historical revisionism.

A Critical and Objective View of Order and Political Theory

According to Vogelin, the two are intertwined and one cannot exist without the other in order to function properly. Political theory, on the other hand, is a well-practiced discipline that maintains the right order at both the individual and social levels. It is not a utopian ideal, a religious doctrine, or a scientific procedure. The problem of order must be approached with a critical and objective mindset. An effort to create the meaning of life by describing the substance of a planned set of experiences is different from merely providing an opinion on how individuals act in society. Theory is more than just a point of view on how individuals interact with one another in society. Instead of relying on a single experience, it bases its argument on a set of experiences to which it must always return in order to exercise objective empirical control.

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