A History of Political Theory. BY GEORGE H. SABINE. (New York: Henry. Holt and Company. Pp. xvi, ) Professor Sabine begins with the hypothesis. a history of political theory george h sabine | Get Read & Download Ebook a history of political theory george h sabine as PDF for free at The Biggest ebook. A history of political theory / George H. Sabine Sabine, George H. (George New York: H. Holt and Co., - American political science series; general editor, E.S.
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View Homework Help - oblilerixhea.cf from SOCW at University of Texas. A HISTORY OF POLITICAL THEORY George H. Sabine THIRD EDITION HOLT. [American Political Science Series, edited by Edward S. Corwin.] (New York: A History of Political Theory. By. Sabine. George H., Professor of Philosophy in Cornell University. [American This content is only available as a PDF. Copyright. A history of political theory by George Holland Sabine, unknown edition, - 3d ed.
And the follow up edition is not, in my view, up to the standards of this edition. In short, at oine point, this was the quintessential survey of political philosophy, tracing developments over the millennia. It was lucidly written that much I recall. I only wish that I still had a copy of this wonderful volume Jul 14, Kshitiz Goliya rated it really liked it On what benchmark do you asses a political theory?
And is it only a political theory or an interlinked chain of political, economic, scientific and psychogical factors? And how do u differentiate between a belief and a theory? What makes a theory sound; its applicability, methodology, appeal or acceptance? It is on this zig zag path that a political scholar treads and that's what this book has attemped and that I must say, with great skill.
Picking up the major theories beginning from Greeks led On what benchmark do you asses a political theory? Picking up the major theories beginning from Greeks led by Socrates and Aristotle to the twentieth century chaos between liberalism and communism, the book links all of them in a constant progression of history, all complementing the evolution of political theory.
The author has clearly chosen the path of being the unflinching critic. No theory for him is complete and sound; it is but another step further, varying in its length. The author points out how logic constantly rushes in and out of political theories.
There is, indeed, much that is common between theory and reason, for both have a claim on being scientific, yet theory looks beyond reason, beyond science. Theory, we may sum up with Karl Deutsch The Nerves of Government, , attempts to 14 explain, order and relate disjointed data, identifies what is relevant and, therefore, points out what is missing in any phenomenon; predicts on the basis of observable facts.
Theory is a guide to practice, adds much to what is merely description, clarifies hypothesis, and as a part of philosophy, explains an issue which meets the requirements of both reason and vision. It is, against this background, that one may say that a theorist is both a scientist and a philosopher; a theorist is more than a scientist; he is more than a philosopher.
To understand theory when applied to politics would mean understanding politics as a theory, as a science and also as a philosophy.
Bluhen would, thus, explain political theory as an explanation of what politics is all about, a general understanding of the political world, a frame of reference. Without one we should be unable to recognize an event as political, decide anything about why it happened, judge whether it was good or bad, or decide what was likely to happen next. A theory helps us identify what is happening in a particular case of politics It helps us to explain why an event occurred and to predict future events Theory also is a tool for evaluating what is happening and for guiding our political choices..
The job of the political theorist is really important. Brecht makes a note of it saying, It is the function of the political theorist to see, sooner than others, and to analyze, more profoundly than others, the immediate and the potential problems of the political life of society; to supply the practical politicians, well in advance, with alternative courses of action, the foreseeable consequences of which have been fully thought through; and to supply him not only with brilliant ideas, but with a solid block of knowledge on which to build.
When political theory performs its function well, he continues, it is one of the most important weapons in our struggle for the advance of humanity.
The discussion on what a theory is or what political theory is would help us identify the characteristic implications or the major aspects of political theory. Some of these can be stated as under: i The area in which political theory works extends to the realms of politics only political life of the citizen, his political behaviour, his political ideas, the government that he seeks to establish, and the tasks expected from such a government.
This negative connotation hardly holds any ground. Political theory is neither a theory of politicking, nor a theory of political intrigues. It is a disciplined investigation of what constitutes the political.
Its contents have varied from time to time. From the early Greeks, in the Western political tradition, to the end of the eighteenth century, political theory concerned itself mostly with what politics ought to be.
Almost during the whole nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, political theory dealt, largely, with the nature and structure of government as a decision-making body. Then came a period when some of the American political scientists, under the influence of scientism, declared the demise of political theory as against those, mostly the British, the traditionalists, who advocated the value of political theory as a guide to political action.
With the fast changing complexion of the world, political theory, has happily, survived the onslaughts of the end of ideology, and the end of history debates. The concern of political theory, today, has been both the nature and proper ends of the government. Political theory, as a disciplined investigation of political phenomena, is closely related to why and what of the institutions of the government, and the whole political system in which the government operates.
To study political theory is to study the context in which it exists. We need to understand political theory within the realm of the political system, the political system within the realm of the social system, the social system within the realm of the period it exists, and in the environment it breeds. The contents of political theory include understanding of what is really political, to link political with what is non-political, and to integrate and coordinate the results of the numerous social sciences for knowing its own nature.
Its scope is not limited to what it constitutes, but to what exists in the periphery and beyond. Suggesting that the task of defining what is political is a continual one, Sheldon Wolin Politics and Vision includes the following in the contents of political theory: i a form of activity centering around the quest for competitive advantage between groups, individuals, or societies; ii a form of activity conditioned by the fact that it occurs within a situation of change and relative scarcity; iii a form of activity in which the pursuits of advantage produce consequences of such magnitude that they affect in a significant way the whole society or a substantial portion of it.
Political theory is said to be political thought, and that is why there are some who describe political theory as denoting the works of numerous thinkers. But it is not what political thought is. There are others who equate political theory with political philosophy.
It is true that political theory constitutes a part of political philosophy, but it is only a part; a part can never be a whole, and as a part, it remains only a part, a part of the whole.
There are still others who after incorporating science in politics, prefer to call it Political Science. But those who insist on a science of politics, refuse to admit 16 if there ever had been a history of politics, or a culture of politics.
Brecht, therefore, would say, political philosophy, political theory, and political science are no longer interchangeable terms, with the emphasis placed on science and a distinction from political philosophy, political science now refers to efforts limited by the use of scientific methods, in contrast to political philosophy, which is free to transcend these limits.
Likewise political theory when opposed to political philosophy now is usually meant to refer scientific theory only in distinction from political philosophy. Any speculative thesis that is proposed by political philosophy can be part of scientific political theory only as a working hypothesis, an auxiliary in the scientific kit, and not or not yet.
Political theory is not all history, but it is history in the limited sense; it is not all philosophy, but it is philosophy in some degree; it is not all science, but it is science in so far as it responds to reason. A political theorist has to be a part historian, a part philosopher, and a part scientist. Political theory without history is a structure without a base. In studying and analysing politics, what we learn to understand is a political tradition, and a concrete way of behaviour.
It is, therefore, proper that the study of politics should essentially be a historical study. History, we should know, is more than the tale of the dead and the buried; it is a storehouse of experience and wisdom; successes and failures, of what has been achieved, and what has been lost. It is the sum-total and simultaneously the formation-head of a new development, something, as Professor L. Rathore says, eternally significant and instructive, inseparably linked with contemporaneity in the perpetual progress of mankind.
Ignore history, he warns, and the delight of political theory is never to be retrieved. Political theory as history defies what has lost its value. No one cries now that the state has been a divine creation or the result of a contract in the state of nature. As history, political theory conserves what has significance and helps posterity to cherish it for a long time to come. Concepts such as justice, liberty, equality, obligation, as evolved through the annals of time, are being held high by political theory today and shall continue to be so in future.
Indeed, history never repeats, but it can hardly be ignored. In the attempt to divorce itself from history, political theory loses its own significance, for there can be no fruits without roots as Seeley had said long ago. It is through history that political theory explains what is what. One can never understand a text without its context.
Platos communism was significantly different from what is claimed to be Marxs communism, and one can understand communism of each by understanding the history of their respective times. It is ones age that prompts and propels ones political theory: history shapes and reshapes political theory.
How can, then, political theory ignore its one aspect, the historical aspect? Sabine writes that great political theory excels both in an analysis of a present situation and in suggestiveness for other situations.
As such, a good political theory, Professor S. Varma Modern Political Theory, writes, even though it is the outcome of a peculiar set of historical circumstances, has a significance for all times to come.
It is exactly this universal character of political theory which makes it respectable. See George H. Sabine, What is Political Theory? Journal of Politics, Vol. I, No. Political theory is history in the sense that it seeks to understand the time, the place and the circumstances in which it evolves.
If it ignores its historical context, it loses its strength, its focus and its message. Any political theory has to have facts as the basis the factual-historical factor 17 as Sabine would say , circumstances in which it develops the causal factor as Sabine describes it , and the message, i.
Political theory is not merely or only history the statement of facts on which it works and has worked in the past, i.
Journal of Politics, XIX, August , but all philosophy is not political theory as all political theory is not philosophy. Philosophy, as an abstract study encompassing the whole universe in general, and morals, norms, and values in particular, is the sum-total of general laws governing the whole world. It has served political theory well through the ages as its valuational factor, as Sabine has said.
Philosophy, as Kant says, has answered three questions: What can I know?
What must I do? Without philosophy, no political theory can ever hope to exist; without an eye on future, no present can ever afford to stay as no present stands without its past. Political theory is a philosophy, for it not only seeks to know the nature of things but also attempts to explain as to why things really exist. One understands an action or a thought only by evaluating it. Evaluation is a part of understanding. Philosophy as distinct from theory is a quest for wisdom or as Strauss holds the view, quest for universal knowledge, for knowledge of the whole.
Political theory as philosophy is the attempt truly to know both the nature of political things and the right, or the good, political order Strauss. Politics is not what one assumes or opines.
In fact, a political theorist is expected to possess more than an assumption or an opinion; he has to have knowledge. Values, Strauss believes, are an indispensable part of political theory as they are, of philosophy.
Every political philosopher has to be a teacher in his own right: he must profess; he must teach; he must persuade. Professor Varma, therefore, writes that the object of persuasion is always there before the political theorist. What some of the modern writers have described as the folk-lore of political philosophy, or mere ideology, is vital for the understanding of political theory. Political theory not only explains, but also affects, favourably or adversely.
Evaluational aspects of a political activity are as important as its factual aspects.
It is, in this sense, that values and facts form an integral part of any political theory. Political theory is not science in the sense Chemistry or Physics or Mathematics is a science. It is not as exact a science as these natural or physical sciences are, because there are no universally recognised principles, no clear cause-effect relationships, no laboratories and no predictions are made in political theory the way these are found in natural and exact sciences.
The American social science researchers in general, and the Behaviouralists in particular, sought to create a science of politics and in the process, indulged in what may be called reductionism.
Political theory is a science in so far as it can, and in fact, is applied to a social gathering and the definitive rules of the exact sciences are applicable within the limitations as in any social science. Political theory as a science is only a social science. It is a science in its methodology, in its approach and in its analysis. To that extent, it is a science, a prime science as Aristotle had described it. It is a science in so far as its conclusions are drawn after study, observation, experiments, features which go along with any normal definition of science.
There is no need to go a long way to make a science of politics, and to find techniques, and tools to make politics an exact science, no matter whether there remains, in the process, any political theory or not.
The role of science in political theory should be limited to the extent that it helps understand a political phenomenon, and to that extent, science should have an entry in the realms of political theory. Political theory admits objectivity in association with subjectivity, facts in relation to values, research together with theory.
Political theory as science generates neutral, dispassionate and objective knowledge See, Colin Hay, Political Analysis, There are limits of social sciences.
In contrast, the rules of the game that of the exact sciences do not change with time. The laws of physics, for instance, can be assumed to pertain to all situations at all times past, present and future. But this is not true of the social sciences. The nature of the economic and the political is, Colin Hay says, different after Keynes and Marx in a way that the physical and the natural is not after Newton and Einstein.
We must remember that i Social structures, unlike natural structures, do not exist independently of the activities they govern, ii social structures, unlike the natural structures, do not exist independently of the agents conceptions of what they are doing in their activity.
See R. Bhaskar, The Limits of Naturalism, This is where the social sciences are different from the natural sciences. The limits of political theory are worked out within the ethics of political analysis. There was a time when, during the ancient Greek and the medieval period, political theory would concern itself with identifying the ethical goals of the state, i.
Both Plato and Aristotle would insist on the functions of the state to establish justice or give the individual, a good life. The medieval political theory associated as it was with religion, demanded of the state to prepare and train the individual to seek a place with god.
The early modern age political theory sought to discuss theories of the origin of the state, followed by philosophers with whom the organisation and functions of the state were major concerns of the state. The mid- twentieth century political theory dealt largely with the institutions of the state, making the concept of power to be the basic theme of the state.
The growth and evolution of political theory can be elaborated in three major streams. These are: i classical political theory, ii modern political theory, and iii contemporary political theory. The classification of political theory into classical, modern and contemporary is, indeed, thematic.
What divides the classical or the traditional from the modern is the element of science in the latter and its absence in the former. Philosophy dominates the classical tradition of political theory whereas science and its methodology dominate the modernist. As an exception, there may be an Aristotle and a Thomas in the ancient and the medieval periods of the West who 19 might have emphasised the science element while discovering the laws of public life, and there may be a Strauss in our times who might see the utility of philosophy in the study of politics.
Likewise, modern political theory and contemporary political theory are somewhat different, at least in their essence.
Modern political theory is empirical and scientific, whereas contemporary political theory is philosophical and historical. Contemporary political theory attempts to synthesise the essence of both the classical and modern political theory. The classical paradigm, according to Sheldon Wolin, relating to political theory, consisted of the following: i Classical political theory aimed at acquiring reliable knowledge about matters concerning the people, a philosophical pursuit to establish a rational basis for belief; a politically inspired pursuit to establish a rational basis for action.
That is why, it, in the process, dwelt on terms such as conflicts, anarchy, instability and revolution. That was the reason that classical political theory developed a classification of political forms e.
Its response was rooted in a moral outlook: Plato advocated the ideal state; Aristotle, a state that can achieve the best possible; St. Augustine, the city of god.