Article

Political Philosophy and the Idea of a Social Science

Peter Lassman

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238804
Published online September 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199238804.003.0025

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Political Philosophy and the Idea of a Social Science

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It appears that the first recognizably modern understanding of the term “social science” was developed during the French Revolution. From its origins, the search for a science of politics modelled upon the perceived success of the natural sciences has been shaped at least as much by political objectives as by pure intellectual curiosity. From their first appearance, the concepts of a social science or of moral or political science were used interchangeably. There can be no doubt that the emergence of the social sciences has had a transformative effect upon the language and style of modern political philosophy. From its origins in ancient Greece, political philosophy has sought the foundations of political order. The major and most influential philosophy of science was, and to a large extent still is, positivism in its various formulations. The origins of this philosophy are associated primarily with Auguste Comte and, in England with some qualification, John Stuart Mill.

Keywords: Auguste Comte; social science; political science; John Stuart Mill; political philosophy; political order; politics; positivism

Article.  10702 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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