Political philosophy and political science are two intertwined fields that seek to study politics and government. While they share some similarities, they also have some differences that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the relationship between political philosophy and political science.
What is Political Philosophy?
Political philosophy is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the study of politics and government. It seeks to understand the nature of government, the rights and obligations of citizens, and the principles that should guide political decision-making.
Political philosophers examine questions such as: What is the best form of government? What are the limits of state power? What are the rights of individuals in society?
Political philosophy has a long history dating back to ancient Greece with philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. These philosophers sought to understand how societies should be organized and what principles should guide political decision-making.
What is Political Science?
Political science is a social science that studies politics, government, and public policy. It seeks to understand how political power is distributed and exercised in different societies, as well as how governments make decisions that affect citizens. Political scientists use a range of methods such as statistical analysis, case studies, and surveys to gather data about political systems.
Political science emerged in the late 19th century as a response to rapid changes in society such as industrialization and urbanization. Its focus on empirical research sets it apart from political philosophy which tends to be more theoretical.
The Relationship between Political Philosophy and Political Science
While political philosophy and political science have different approaches to studying politics, they are closely related fields. Political philosophers often provide the theoretical framework for understanding politics while political scientists use empirical research to test these theories in practice.
For example, a political philosopher might argue that democracy is the best form of government because it respects individual rights while promoting collective decision-making. A political scientist could then study how different democracies around the world function in practice, examining factors such as voter turnout, political polarization, and the effectiveness of government policies.
Political philosophy can also help guide the research questions that political scientists ask. For example, a political philosopher might argue that government has a moral obligation to provide universal healthcare to its citizens. A political scientist could then investigate how different countries have implemented healthcare policies and evaluate their effectiveness.
In conclusion, while political philosophy and political science have different approaches to studying politics, they are closely related fields. Political philosophy provides the theoretical framework for understanding politics while political science uses empirical research to test these theories in practice. By working together, these two fields can provide a deeper understanding of how politics works and how we can improve our systems of governance.