By John G. Gunnell
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Extra resources for Between philosophy and politics: the alienation of political theory
And although it may be possible, at some level of abstraction, to distinguish, analytically or functionally, certain similarities in concern and endeavor between contemporary political theory as an academic field and these historical paradigms, such assimilation is fundamentally distortive. Political theory has at times projected its own academic enterprise on its adopted ancestors and at other times cast its identity in the image of its epic view of the classic pantheon, but in both cases it has characteristically mythologized both its subject matter and its own activity.
Political theory speaks of scientific knowledge comparable to natural science and engineering; of knowledge of the meaning of history and the human condition; of transcendental grounds of political values; of the reflective grasp of the structural and ideological constraints of modernity and the discovery of the means and ends of human emancipation; of achieving at last a truly historical understanding of the past of our present that will also clarify in general the relationship between thought and action; of recovering from the classics a philosophical understanding of the nature of political things that will be a key to some measure of political salvation; of producing political education that appreciates the past and saves the future by speaking truth to power and raising the consciousness Page 7 of the potentially and rightfully powerful; of supplying the logic and substance of sound normative judgments about public policy choice; and so on.
Bibliography: p. Includes index. Title. paper) Page vi To Pam and Jenniwho know the difference between theory and practice. Page vii Contents Preface ix Introduction 1 1 The Alienation of Political Theory 10 2 Theory and Science 43 3 Theory and Tradition 91 4 Theory and Metatheory 134 5 The End of Political Theory 169 6 Politics and the Theory of the Conventional Object 201 References 223 Index 235 Page ix Preface This work is a synthesis, clarification, and elaboration of a number of arguments, mostly critical, that I have made about the field of academic political theory and its relationship to philosophy and politics.