The Enlightenment Science of Politics

Robert Wokler

in Inventing Human Science

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780520200104
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916227 | DOI:
The Enlightenment Science of Politics

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Political science was manifestly not invented in the Enlightenment and may in fact be the oldest of all the human sciences. Indeed, so striking for much of its career since classical Greece, the science of politics has apparently sifted the base metal of human nature rather than refined the ore that at its birth gave it a special luster. Two main lines of enquiry, largely distinct but occasionally connected even within the same works, were pursued by eighteenth-century political scientists: on the one hand, the theoretical study of the principles of legislation, authority, and the structure of government; on the other, the analysis of political behavior and development, including the forces that drive individuals to personal domination or collective action, and societies to historical change.

Keywords: political science; classical Greece; politics; legislation; political behavior; historical change

Chapter.  11242 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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