Discuss the revival of Political theory.

Discuss the revival of Political theory.

The revival of Political theory. Political theory is one of the core areas in political science. It is only in recent times that it has emerged as an academic discipline. Earlier, those who engaged in this enterprise styled themselves as philosophers or scientists. From ancient Greece to the present, the history of political theory has dealt with fundamental and perennial ideas of political science. The first modern usage of the term ‘Political Science’ was in the works of Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu (1689-1755), Adam Smith (1723- 90), Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) and David Hume (1711-76), where it meant the ‘Science of the Legislator’. Political theory was political science in the full sense, and there could be no science without theory. The revival of Political theory, Just as we may speak of theory as either the activity of theorising, so political theory may legitimately and accurately be used as synonymous with political science.

Political philosophy provides general answers to questions such as what is justice, concepts of right, the distinction between ‘is’ and ‘ought’ and the larger issues of politics. Political philosophy is a part of normative political theory, for it attempts to establish inter-relationships between concepts. It is, perhaps, accurate to say that every political philosopher is a theorist, though every political theorist is not a political philosopher.

Political philosophy is a complex activity, which is best, understood by analysing the many ways that the acknowledged masters have practiced it. The revival of Political theory , No single philosopher and no one historical age can be said to have defined it conclusively, any more than any one painter or school of painting has practiced all that we mean by painting.

Political thought is the thought of the whole community that includes the writings and speeches of the articulate sections such as professional politicians, political commentators, society reformers and ordinary persons of a community. The revival of Political theory , Thought can be in the form of political treatises, scholarly articles, speeches, government policies and decisions, and also poems and prose that capture the anguish of the people. Thought is time bound; for instance, the history of the twentieth century.

In short, political thought includes theories that attempt to explain political behaviour, and values to evaluate it and methods to control it. Political theory, unlike thought, refers to the speculation by a single individual, usually articulated in treatises as models of explanation. It consists of theories of institutions, including that of the state, law, representation and of election. The mode of enquiry is comparative and explanatory.

Revival of Political Theory

The revival of Political theory In the 1930s, political theory began studying the history of ideas with the purpose of defending liberal democratic theory in opposition to the totalitarian tenets of communism, fascism and nazism. Lasswell tried to establish a scientific political theory with the eventual purpose of controlling human behaviour, furthering the aims and direction given by Merriam. Unlike the classical tradition, scientific political theory describes rather than prescribes. The revival of Political theory, Political theory in the traditional sense was alive in the works of Arendt, Theodore Adorno, Marcuse, and Leo Strauss. Their views diametrically differed from the broad ideas within American political science for they believed in liberal democracy, science and historical progress.

All of them reject political messianism and utopianism in politics. Arendt focussed mainly on the uniqueness and responsibility of the human being, with which she initiates her criticism in behaviouralism. She contended that the behavioural search for uniformities in human nature has only contributed towards stereotyping the human being. Strauss reaffirms the importance of classical political theory to remedy the crisis of modern times. He does not agree with the proposition that all political theory is ideological in nature mirroring a given socio-economic interest, for most political thinkers are motivated by the possibility of discerning the principles of the right order in social existence.

A political philosopher has to be primarily interested in truth. Past philosophies are studied with an eye on coherence and consistency. The authors of the classics in political theory are superior because they were geniuses and measured in their writings. The revival of Political theory,  Strauss scrutinises the methods and purposes of the ‘new’ political science and concludes that it was defective when compared with classical political theory, particularly that of Aristotle.

For Aristotle, a political philosopher or a political scientist has to be impartial, for he possesses a more comprehensive and clearer understanding of human ends. The revival of Political theory, Political science and political philosophy are identical, because science consisting of theoretical and practical aspects is identical with philosophy.

Aristotle’s political science also evaluates political things, defends autonomy of prudence in practical matters and views political action as essentially ethical. These premises Behaviouralism denies, for it separates political philosophy from political science and substitutes the distinction between theoretical and practical sciences. It perceives applied sciences to be derived from theoretical sciences, but not in the same manner as the classical tradition visualises.

Political theory is not ideology, utopia or scientific methodology, but an experiential science of the right order at both the level of the individual and society. It has to dissect critically and empirically the problem of order.

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