Why Is Political Science called A Science?

Why is Political science called a science? The word science usually v’ means a systematic way of gathering and organizing knowledge. It is for the most part a method. The method involves selecting problems, formulating hypotheses, gathering data, testing hypotheses, and verifying results, all of which will be discussed later. Because it is a method, science in and of itself lacks substance or essence. Yet, when we see a spark of electric current or read about a virus, we think of science. While there is nothing inherently scientific in a spark of electric current or a virus, if they are examined in a systematic way, they become subjects for a scientific method of investigation.

A systematic method of gathering and organizing knowledge about the evolution of states, codes of law, public opinion, propaganda, and the other areas of political life and thought constitutes the science in political science. If a useful system or method of gathering or organizing knowledge is absent, the results may be either informational chaos or something less than truth. Some men in the past have attempted without success to analyze politics by resorting to such vague analogies as the class struggle; geographic, economic, moral or other types of determinism; direct democracy; free enterprise; regulated or unregulated competition; pleasure and pain; or, the parables of the gospels. To substantially increase the prospect for success, political scientists use a scientific method. Briefly stated, the practitioner observes political phenomena such as the emergence Of new states, the occurrence Of revolutions, or a new Shift in voting alignments.

He then seeks to establish causality and to apply explanatory principles beyond his observations to account for such phenomena. After considerable personal testing to confirm his findings, he will make them public, and other political scientists and scholars will also submit these tentative answers to rigorous testing. After a sufficient time has elapsed and the principles have withstood the assault of disproof, we begin to include them in our inventory of academic truths. This attempt at disproof is the basis of the scientific method.3 By the nature of political things, political scientists cannot duplicate the laboratory approach of the physical sciences. No one with a sound mind would deliberately resort to dictatorship or to anarchy to test or construct theoretical models. No one forms a third or fourth political party simply to observe the similarities and differences be- tween a multi-party system and the American two-party system.

Why is Political science called a science?

Unlike some of the physical sciences, political science does not presently enable us to predict the behavior of the individual or individual unit. To know that the Democratic vote in “X” district has a probability Of 345 is not to know a great deal. But if one regards several such districts as single units, then to know that 345 votes out Of every 1000 tend to be Democratic is to know a great deal. Whether political science will arrive at laws which will predict the political actions Of a single individual is presently a matter of speculation. Such a status is not unique unto political science: physics has a similar problem with the movement Of atomic particles, and meteorology can be no more than speculative about certain factors within a weather system.

Leave a Comment