Essay on The Problem Of Political Science

Essay on The Problem Of Political Science

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The problem of categorising political science has been widely debated in the world of academia. However when assessing whether “political science” really is a “science” it is essential to focus on the attributes that define a “science” and whether political science fits into that category. Likewise, the differences between science and philosophy must also be analysed, in order to reach a conclusion of whether “political science” is a science, a philosophy, or whether it is an autonomous concept altogether. This will be done using the criterion of methodology.
Whether political science falls under the category of “science” is dependent on the definition that is proposed for science, thus it is crucial to analyse its meaning. The study of science is characterised by empirical methods built on common sense, and focuses on existences and observations, as noted by Brodbeck (1953). Moreover, science applies research data and investigations to a theoretical assumption in order prove or disprove its validity, or otherwise to refine and modify the theory. Science consists of descriptive explanation as well as objectivity, and can be distributed, or accumulated into a single grouping. Furthermore, Jackson (1930) argued that scientific methodology follows certain set principles which can be classified as follows;
1) The only reliable basis of knowledge is direct observations, which are objective and completely independent of human prejudices.
2) The factual data collected from observation must be categorised according to their inter-relations, so-called “laws of nature”.
3) These laws, however, are not determinative and ‘must be repeatedly tested by the process of prediction and verification’.
4) Accurate measurements of that w...

... middle of paper ...

...mportant results’ (Pennock, 1951, p. 1081-1082). In returning to the main question, it would initially seem that “political science” cannot be considered as a “science” because the argument that political science is value-neutral appears inconceivable. Nevertheless, “political science” shares most methodological aspects with the method of inquiry as determined by the scientific study. However, Sartori (1974) argued that “science” encompasses not only strict disciplines that have a rigid methodology in order to achieve accurate results, but also studies which are much more flexible. Thus, it may be asserted that while political science does not strictly follow the set of principles of scientific methodology, it should not be dismissed as a “non-science”, as political science does fall under the category of science in the broad sense rather than the physicalist sense.

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