Political Theory versus Scientific Theory

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Political Theory versus Scientific Theory

Theory is ubiquitous. Everyone is a theorist. A theory is generally stated to be an idea or belief one has formulated that is to be tested by others. Theory abstracts and generalizes from specific circumstances, and enhances the accessibility of experience. They are often more general and abstract then the facts they attempt to explain, therefore, alluding to more than just facts. Theories are functions of indirection, whereas facts are a matter of direct transcription of their contents. Despite the differences between fact and theory, they go hand in hand. This is most evident when comparing political and scientific theories.

Political theory might be said to be governed by time, patience and curiosity. It has its preservative function which is partly reflected in the amount of labor, perhaps even affection, that accompanies its perpetuation of a canon, but partly, too, in the deliberations about political life that figure in each and every theory and make their construction such a slow and drawn out process. In political theory, the dialogue of words spoken is the basis for the theory. When testing political theory, there is not a set process. Theories are often stumbled upon, as in the Republic of Plato. In the Republic, Socrates makes use of questions and examples to help several intellectuals answer their own questions and formulate their own theories. This is often the method favored by political theorists.

One of the most influential political theories is Sheldon Wolin's Epic Political Theory. The Epic Political Theory attempts to rethink the nature of human beings and usually arises around a time of crisis. These theories are often referred to as thought-deed...

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...ent people. The above arguments are weaker in medical research, where data is often fake and distorted in order to support products. For example, tobacco companies regularly produce reports "proving'' that smoking is harmless, and drug companies have both faked and suppressed data related to the safety or effectiveness of major products. This type of fraud does not reflect on the validity of the scientific method.

Despite the strong differences of political theory and scientific theory, they are both essential in understanding the world. Theory will always be linked to testability and theories will continue to be formulated and discarded; it is what makes people think. Theory, then, in short: it wants to be local and restricted but the structures of power--political and scientific--are national and global. To theorize the inside one must theorize the outside.
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