The relationship between political philosophy and political science

Keith Dowding*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Many ‘philosophy of ….’ subjects are closely intertwined with their subject matter, using the results in, say biology, or physics, or the content of history or art, as part-and-parcel of their subject matter. Political philosophy does not seem engaged with political science in the same manner. It is more closely attuned with moral philosophy, indeed at times it seems difficult to separate the two subjects. I argue in this paper that despite political philosophy being normative, rather than explanatory or about methods, it needs to be more closely attuned with political science. Political philosophy should concentrate more upon governing structures, and less on individuals; utilise the known mechanism and results from political science; and concentrate more on questions more familiar to political scientists. It needs to become a branch of political science, rather, as it seems now, a branch of moral philosophy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)432-444
    Number of pages13
    JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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