Thursday, August 21, 2008

What is it that you do?

I just had a conversation with my friend Dennis about the difference between political philosophy and political theory (as usually taught in Political Science Departments). I tend to think that political philosophy is more normative, that is, its concerned to examine whether or not politics ought to be a certain way, whereas political theory is more interested in explaining the foundations for why politics is the way it is now. For instance, I tend to think political philosophers are more interested in questions of utopia than are political theorists.

From Public Reason: the questions that motivate social and political phlilosophy

1) What Should the Social World Be Like?

2) Should There be Government?

3) What Sort of Government Should We Have?

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1 Comments:

At 5:50 PM , Blogger Dennis said...

I would change the last two questions to something more like "how should people organize themselves, and to what end?"

The current formulation seems limiting.

Otherwise I like the distinction.

 

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