Political Science: Nature, Scope and Methods of Political Science


The term Political Science is intimately related to the word “Politics”, which itself is derived from the Greek word — “Polis” — that means a city-state, the general form of political organisation in ancient Greece. The origin of political thought in the west, therefore, goes back to Greece.

The Sophists (the wandering teachers of wisdom) particularly Protagoras and Gorgias in Athens were the first to deal with this mode of thought and then expound a political theory. Later on Socrates, Plato and Aristotle continued to conduct the scientific study of the various problems concerning the state and the government.

Aristotle, the world- famous Greek philosopher, however, excelled his teacher — Plato and his teacher’s teacher — Socrates. Now he (Aristotle) is regarded as the father of the science of Politics in the west. While Manu is considered to be the first political thinker of India and his famous book “Manusmriti” is regarded as the first book of law in India.


Later on, it was Chanakya who formed and formulated Indian political thinking and gave it a concrete form in the shape of a book named “Kautilya Arthashastra”, a well-known book of Indian Polity.

Nature of Political Science:

Since here we are mainly concerned with the western political thought, we start our study with the speculations of Aristotle on Political Science. In his famous book, “Politics”, Aristotle has asserted: “Man is by nature a political animal and he, who by nature and not by mere accident is without state, is either above humanity or below it.”

In other words he says,” He who is unable to live in society or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or god. There is no doubt about it that man is a social and political animal because he cannot do without society or state. By nature he desires to live in society and follows the rules and regulations of the State.

If a person is left alone to live in a dense and dreadful forest, he will certainly feel extremely fed up with it and after some time he will earnestly desire to be in the company of his fellow beings. Man desires to live in society not only by nature but by compulsion also because without the help of society he is quite unable to meet his needs.


By leading a lone life he cannot make available to himself the countless commodities needed in everyday life. He can meet the needs of food, clothing and shelter with the help of others. Only a well-organized society can provide him with the facilities of daily life because human life is not sale aim secure m a society that is not well-organised and is at discord.

Civilization and culture cannot make progress where human life is unsafe and insecure. The safety of man and the security of human life are possible only in a well-governed state. Hence, man stands in urgent need of a well-governed State. Without it anarchy will prevail in society and human progress will be hampered. Therefore, a well-governed State is a must for the progress of man. This is the reason why the subject of our study is the State and the Government, which are the part and parcel of Political Science.

There are many people in the world today who believe that man is not necessarily a political animal and he is also selfish but man prefers to live in the state because it is more advantageous for him to live there than outside it where lawlessness prevails. The advantages of living in the State are obvious to every person.

Therefore, famous American writer Robert A. Dahl observes, “Nonetheless, though human beings must and do live in political systems and share the benefits of political life; they do not necessarily participate in political life; they are not necessarily interested in politics, nor do they always care what happens in politics; know much about political events or share in making decisions’.”


Robert A. Dahl further observes, “An individual is unlikely to get involved in politics if he places a low valuation on the rewards to be gained from political involvement relative to the rewards expected from other kinds of human activity. For many people political activity is a good deal gratifying than other outlets family, friends, recreation and the like.

For many, political involvement yields far less affection, income, security, respect, excitement, and other values than working at one’s job, watching television, reading, fishing, playing with the children, attending a football game or assembling a new hi-fi set. For many, the rewards of other activities are more immediate and concrete.” A man may take more or less participation but it is certain that the destiny of man is linked with the State and government.

It has been stated earlier that Political Science is a scientific study of the State and the Government. We should keep in mind that there exist a number of political, social, economic, religious and cultural institutions in a society. State is also one of them. But it is a political institution of supreme importance.

It maintains law and order in society, protects human life and enables human beings to make an all- round progress. No doubt the chief function of the State is to maintain peace in society but it is not all. Now-a-days it has become a welfare State and, therefore, it aims at promoting the welfare of the people.


For example, these days the State provides its citizens with the facilities of higher education and better medical treatment. It gets the roads and bridges built for them. It chalks out the plans and programmes of agriculture and industry and controls the prices.

There will hardly be any field of life where the State or the Government does not operate. Therefore, it is very necessary to study such an important institution. Before studying it in detail it will be better for us to cast a glance at the different definitions of Political Science, given by famous political thinkers.

Definitions of Political Science:

Traditional Definitions:


(a) According to Paul Janet, “Political Science is the part of social science which treats of the foundations of the State and the principles of Government.”

(b) Bluntschli believes that “Political Science is a science, which is concerned with the State, endeavors to understand and comprehend the State in its essential nature, various forms, manifestations and developments.”

(c) Garris, famous German author is of the opinion that “Political Science deals with the origin, development, purpose, and all political problems of the State.”

(d) Gettell says, “It is, thus, a study in the past, present and future, of political organisations and political theories.”

(e) According to Lord Acon, “Political Science is concerned with the State and with conditions essential for its development.”

(f) Dr. Garner believes that “Political Science begins and ends with the State.”

(g) According to Leacock, “Political Science deals with Government.”

(h) Seeley says, “Political Science investigates the phenomena of Government as Political Economy deals with Wealth, Biology with life. Algebra with numbers and Geometry with space and magnitude.”

(i) As new approaches to the study of Political Science has been made with the interaction of new forces. Catlin defines Political Science as the study of “the act of human and social control” or “the study of control relationship of wills.” There are on the other hand German writers who study it from sociological point of view and they regard it as “the problem of power and social control.”

If we closely study and analyze all the definitions given above, we come to the conclusion that the main subject of the study of Political Science is the State and Government.

Modern Political Concepts or Analysis:

During the last two decades there has been an intellectual revolution in the American Political Thought as Almond, Powell and G. Bingham observe altogether new political concepts and political theories have been invented.

These new political theories have exercised tremendous influence not only in the U.S.A. but also in India. Almond, Powell and other modern American writers have studied Political Science by sociological, anthropological and psychological methods and criticized the traditional theory of Political Science on grounds of parochialism and formalism.

These writers maintain that the political theorists in the past concentrated mainly on the state, government, institutions and their legal norms, rules and regulations or on political ideas and ideologies. They did not concern themselves with the performance of institutions, their interaction and political behaviour of man.

Therefore modern American political writers concentrate their attention upon four basic principles:

(1) The search for more comprehensive scope;

(2) The search for realism;

(3) The search for precision;

(4) The search for intellectual order.

As the State is limited by its legal and institutional meanings, therefore the modern American writers have discarded the traditional concept of State and substituted it by “political system”. They use the word functions instead of “powers” because the latter is a legal term. Similarly they have preferred the use of the word “role” instead of ‘offices’ which is a legal term again. Instead of ‘institutions’ the word ‘structure’ is used and the word ‘public opinion’ has been substituted by them with ‘political culture’ and ‘political socialisation’.

The advocates of Modern Political Theory justify these innovations by saying, “We are not simply adding terms to a new vocabulary, but rather are in the process of developing or adapting a new one……..; this is not only a matter of a conceptual vocabulary; it is an intimation of a major step forward in the nature of political science as science.”

Definition by Laswell and Robert Dhal:

Harold Laswell, a leading Political Scientist of the U.S.A. defines “Political Science, as an empirical discipline, (as) the study of the shaping and sharing of power” and a political act (as) one performed in power perspectives.”

This definition of Political Science is a new one. It emphasises the dynamic nature of t he discipline and calls attention to the fact that the forces controlling the form and behaviour of the State and similar to those that operate in other institutions.

Churches, corporations, trade unions, colleges, and other associations of various kinds have to provide for their internal government, and all these governments operate in response to forces that it seems natural to call political. Clearly, then everything that Aristotle and Weber would call political, Laswell would too.

But Laswell would consider as political something that Weber and Aristotle would not: a business firm or a trade union, for example, might have “political” aspects. Contemporary students of politics do in fact study the political aspects of business firms, labour unions, and other “private” associations like the American Medical Association.”

Contemporary political analysis tends to accept, then, a broad definition of what is political rather than the narrower one of Aristotle. Therefore, Robert A. Dahl defines political system as follows: “A political system is any persistent pattern of human relationships that involve, to a significant extent, however, rule or authority.”

Robert A. Dahl further observes, “this definition of Political Science is very broad. Indeed it means that many associations we do not ordinarily regard as “political” possess political systems: private clubs, business firms, labour unions, religious organisations, civic groups, primitive tribes, clans, perhaps even families. Three considerations may help clarify the unfamiliar notion that almost every human association has a political aspect.

D.G. Hitchner has also pointed out and rightly too that “the world around is clearly a political world. All mankind has been drawn into some political association through which men engage in operation and conflict”. Consequently, no aspect of human life is free from state intervention. This is equally true of liberal democracies as well as socialist countries. “Whenever you are or want to be”, says Marshal Berman, you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.”

1. In common parlance we speak of the “government” of a club, a firm and so on. In fact we may even describe such a government as dictatorial, democratic, representative or authoritarian; and we often hear about “politics” and “politicking” going on in these associations.

2. A political system is only one aspect of an association. When we say that a person is a doctor, or a teacher, or a farmer, we do not assume that he is only a doctor, only a teacher, only a farmer. Probably no human association is exclusively political in all aspects. People experience many other relationships than power and authority, experience such as love, respect, purpose, dedication, shared beliefs, and so on.

3. This definition says nothing at all about human motives. It certainly does not imply that in every political system people seek to rule over others, want, authority, struggle for power, or the like. Indeed relationships of authority could exist even among people with no particular desire to exercise authority or in situations where people with the most authority had the least desire for it.

In American private clubs, for example, members who are the most avid for office are sometimes the least likely to be elected precisely because the majority of members prefer an officer whose desire for power is so moderate that he can be relied on to seek the views of others rather than impose his own on everyone else.

Some Critical Distinctions (Politics and Economics):

Robert A. Dahl remarks, “Despite its breadth our definition of the Political System helps us to make some critical distinctions that are often blurred in ordinary discussions. For example, we have to distinguish between Politics and Economics.

Political analysis deals with power, rule or authority. Economics concerns itself with scarce resources or the production and distribution of goods and services. Politics is one aspect of a great variety of human institutions, economics is another aspect.

Hence an economist and a political scientist/might both study the same concrete institutions; but where the economist would concern himself with problems involving scarcity of resources, the political scientist would deal with problems involving relationships of power, rule or authority. However, as with most attempts to distinguish subjects of intellectual inquiry, the distinction between politics and economics is not perfectly sharp”.

Scope of Political Science:

(a) Study of State and Government:

Since Political Science is the science of the State and the Government, it conducts the scientific study of both the State and the Government. It deals with the nature and formation of the State and tries to understand various forms and functions of the Government, just as the scholars differ in regard to the definition of Political Science, so they differ in regard to its scope too.

On the one hand Bluntschli, Garris and others believe that the scope of Political Science is restricted to the study of the State alone but on the other hand there are scholars like Leacock, who attach more importance to the study of the Government than to that of the State. Leacock maintains that Political Science deals only with the Government.

Like Leacock Karl W. Deutsch says, “Because Politics is the making of decision by public means, it is primarily concerned with government, that is, with the direction and self-direction of large communities of the people.”

The term State does not occur in his definition of Political Science, whereas Laski, Gilchrist and Gettell are of the opinion that the scope of Political Science includes the study of both the State and the Government. Bluntschli says, “Political Science is a science which is concerned with the State, endeavors to understand and comprehend the State in its essential nature, various forms, manifestations and developments.”

But according to Janet, a French writer, “It is that part of social science which treats of the foundations of the State and the principles of the Government.” If we closely and carefully study Political Science, we come to know that despite the difference found between the State and the Government, the scope of one cannot be separated from that of the other. The State is an agency under which the Government functions.

The State is imaginary and it is the Government that gives it a practical shape. Therefore, one is the complement of the other. The existence of the State is not possible in the absence of the Government. This is the reason why Laski, Gilchrist, Gattell and others have included the study of both the State and the Government in the scope of Political Science.

(b) Study of Associations and Institutions:

The scope of Political science also includes the study of associations and institutions. In this connection Dr. Garner has very aptly observed: “In organised way the fundamental problems of Political Science include, first, an investigation of the origin and the nature of the State, second, an inquiry into nature, history and forms of political institutions and third, deduction there-from, so far as possible, of laws of political growth and development.”

In other words, we study in Political Science the origin and the development of the State and many other political institutions and associations. There are many types of institutions in a country or in a society and the State an institution that stands supreme — controls all of them. These institutions are useful to the nation and have their utility in society. This is the reason why we study, in Political Science, these institutions along with the State.

(c) Study of National and International Problems and the Political Study of Man:

The term Political Science is intimately related to the English word “Politics” which itself has been derived from the Greek word “Polis”. It stands for a city-state. In ancient times Greece was divided into small city-states and the affairs related to those city-states were known as Politics.

But now the meaning of t he word “Politics” is not considered to be so narrow. These days Political Science is not limited to the city-states only but it deals with the national and the international problems. Despite this it will not be wrong to say that the scope of Political Science includes the political study of man also, otherwise the study of Political Science will remain incomplete.

Herman Heller has laid stress on this point in ‘Encyclopedia of Social Sciences’. He writes, “It may be said that the character of Political Science in all of its parts is determined by its basic pre-supposition regarding man.”

Explaining the scope of Political Science, Burgess has pointed out that the modern demands of land-extension, representative government and national unity have made Political Science not only the science of political independence but that of state sovereignty also. According to Laski, “The study of Political Science concerns itself with the life of man in relation to organised states.”

(d) Study of Past, Present and Future Development of State:

The scope of Political Science includes the study of the past, present and future developments of the State. Dealing with the scope of Political Science Gettell writes: “In its historical aspects, Political Science deals with the origin of the state and the development of political theories in the past….In dealing with the present it attempts to describe and classify existing political institutions and ideas. Political Science also looks to the future, to the improving political organisations and activities in the light of changing conditions and changing ethical standards.”

It is thus a study of the State in the past, present and future; of political organisation and political function; of political institutions and political theories. In other words Political Science attempts to explain the meaning and the essential, nature of the State and deals with the laws of its progress and development.

It throws a shade of light on its origin, form, structure and its dealings with other States and international organisations. The study of Political Science also includes a historical survey of the origin of the State and its evolution.

Its scope is not restricted to the study of the past and the present alone, but it directs the future course of the development of the State. It gives timely suggestions with a view to improving the political institutions and modifying political activities so as to meet the new demands of the changing world.

A close and careful analysis of Political Science reveals to us that its scope embraces the study of both the State and the Government. But the existence of the State is not possible in the absence of Government. The State is imaginary and it is the Government that gives the State concrete shape. There can be no State without Government.

Laski goes to the extent of maintaining that the State in reality means the Government. Thus, it is quite clear that the agency which acts on behalf of the State is an integral part of the State. Therefore, the study of the State must include the study of the Government which forms an integrated part of the State.

Political Science studies the Government, its form, structure and its functions. The main subject of our study seems to be the State round which the entire machinery of the Government rotates. Explaining the scope of Political Science, Professor R. N. Gilchrist writes:

The scope of Political Science is determined by the inquiries that arise in connection with the State. These inquiries may broadly be classed under the State as it is, the State as it has been, the State as it ought to be.” Under the heading—what the State is? —We study the present nature of the State.

It throws light on the origin and the meaning of the State and its essential elements. It also includes the principles, the working and the classification of the modern forms of the Government. It deals with the essential nature of the State and its relation with the citizens. Under this heading we study the scope and nature of the State.

For example, ‘State’, according to Aristotle, “came into existence originating in the bare needs of life and continuing its existence for the sake of good life.” It means that the State aims at doing maximum good to common man. Our Constitution deals in detail with this matter in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Now India has become a welfare State. It pays more attention to the education, health and other facilities given to the citizens. In nineteenth century the Individualists though that the chief functions of the State were three: to protect the country from foreign invasion; to maintain law and order; and to let the mutual agreements come into being. State of this nature was known as the Police-State.

But the concept of the State has completely changed today. It had become a welfare State. Consequently its scope has widened and its functions have increased in number. With the increase in its functions, its powers also have increased. There is hardly a field of life which it does not regulate.

Under the heading—what the State has been?—we study a historical survey of the workings of the government or the historical development of the State and of ideas concerning the State. By this study we come to know what part religion, blood-relation and political consciousness have played in the development of the State.

Under this heading we also study ancient political institutions and administrations so that we may have the knowledge of the systematic development of modern institutions. By studying ancient political history we also come to know the fact that the nature of the State, in the beginning, was like that of a tribe and its functions were limited.

But step by step its simple nature underwent changes and it became a complex State. Now the complex laws of the State have started controlling each and every sphere of human life. Under this heading we also study how States in ancient times were formed out of small tribes and how they became big national states later on. The present national states of France, England Germany and Italy started developing only after fifteenth century.

The Statesmen of the world learnt from the defective working of the League of Nations and when they founded the U.N., they improved it considerably. We discuss the aims and obligations of an ideal state and consider those moral principles which help it to become a welfare State (not a Police-State) so that it may aim at doing maximum possible good to mankind.

Under this heading we also study what will be the nature of the State in future. The political philosophers firmly believe that in order to save human civilization from annihilation in Third World War, we have to change the present nature of the national States and transfer their sovereignty to the international associations like U.N.

In future the ultimate nature of the State ought to be like that of a world federation. Treitschke, a German scholar, writes in this connection, “First, it should aim to determine from a consideration of the actual world of States the fundamental idea of State; second, it should consider historically what the people have chosen, what they have created, what they have attained in political life and how; and third, through this means it should determine historical law and moral imperatives. As such, it is applied in history”.

While Professor Willoughby believes that generally speaking there are three great topics with which Political Science has to deal: State, government and law. In his book, “One World”, Mr. Bandal Wilky has recognised the oneness of the entire human society. It confirms that Political Science is a deep study of all the political problems of the world. It is a dynamic study of the dynamic political nature of man. Its scope embraces all the political ideas and institutions. Every kind of political institution or association is relevant to the subject of Political Science.

Study of the concept of power:

With the behavioural revolution in politics, the central topic of the latest study in Political Science has become the study of the power. According to the modem writers power means the sum total of capacities with the help of which a person can manipulate things to his own advantage.

Consequently, modem political scientists under the behavioural and systems approach have widened the scope of political science to cover many more aspects like political socialisation, political culture, political development and informal structures like pressure groups, etc.

Problem Regarding the Exact Name for this Science:

The problem regarding the exact name for this science has raised a good deal of controversy. Different scholars designate this science of the state and the government by different terms. Jellinek has remarked that “there is no science which is so much in need of good terminology as is Political Science”.

Professor James Wilford Gamer observes that, “it is a characteristic of Political Science, that differing from the natural sciences; it lacks a precise and generally accepted nomenclature.” A good number of German, English and American writers have employed the term “Politics” in preference to the term “Political Science”.

On the other hand, there are other writers like Lord Bryce, Seeley in England and Burgess and Willoughby in the United States, who have employed the term “Political Science” in preference to the term “Politics.” Thirdly, there are authors like Sir Frederick Pollock and others who have employed the term “Science of Politics” for this science. Fourthly, authors like Mekechnie use the term. “Theory of the State” for this science.

Dealing with the various terms, used for this science by different authors, Dr. Garner observes: “The obvious objection to the employment of the terms in dual sense could be removed by restricting its use to describe the activities by which public officials are chosen and political policies promoted or, in a wider sense the sum total of activities which have to do with the actual administration of public affairs, reserving the term, “Political Science” to describe the body of knowledge relating to the phenomena of the State.”


As stated above, this science of the State and the government has been designated by different terms such as Politics, Political Theory and Political Philosophy. It was Aristotle who first employed the term “Politics” as a title for his book dealing with the State.

As stated earlier, the term “Politics” has been derived from the Greek word ‘Polis’ which means a city-state, the general form of political organisation in ancient Greece. Ancient Greece was divided in small city-states. But now there are big states in place of small city-state. Hence, the meaning of the term “Politics” has also changed.

Explaining the term “Politics” in modern context, R.N. Gilchrist says, “Politics now-a-days refers to the current problems of the government which as often as not are more economic in character and political in scientific sense.

When we speak of as interested in Politics, we mean that he is interested in we current problems of the day, in tariff questions, in labour questions, in the relation of the executive to the legislature, in any question, in fact which requires or is supposed to require the attention of the law-members of the country.” Politics in this sense is more of an art than a science and a politician is one who takes an active part in the politics of his country.

But now by Politics we mean that it is a science which deals with those political problems that are being faced by a village, city, province or by the world. Therefore, the Politics of one country differs from that of the other because every country faces different problems at the same time.

For example, Indian Politics is totally different from that of Great Britain, U.S.S.R., France and U.S.A. because India has followed totally different foreign policy. And even after Chinese aggression on 20th October, 1962, we are not willing to join any political bloc.

Our late President Dr. Radhakrishnan and our late Prime Minister, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru and Mrs. Indira Gandhi delivered enlightening speeches on this matter. The late Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri and late Prime Minister Mrs. Indi’-a Gandhi and former Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi also followed those very lines, Indian Government has always objected to the manufacture of Hydrogen Bombs.

India has always followed the path of Panch Sheel with a view to reducing the possibilities of war in the world. It is a matter of regret that China first of all agreed in 1954, to follow the Indian path of Panch Sheel with regard to the solution of the problem of Tibet but later on it abandoned that path and occupied many Indian posts.

On October 20, 1962 it committed an aggression on India and captured 14,500 square miles of Indian Territory. This example makes it very clear that Chinese politics is totally different from Indian politics. On the one hand, India follows the policy of Panch Sheel, non-violence and non-alignment, while China, on the other hand, and follows the policy of force and expansionism.

Likewise Pakistan also follows the policy of force and expansionism. It has been attacking India since its inception. First of all it attacked Kashmir in October 1947. After that it again attacked Kashmir and other parts of India in August September, 1965.

After lapse of only six years, it again attacked India on Deceihber3, 1971, which resulted into total rout of Pakistan during two weeks’ war and also secession of Eastern Pakistan in the form of People’s Democratic Republic of Bangla Desh.

Since then Pakistan has again armed herself with sophisticated weapons with the help of U.S.A. and China. The policies of western countries are also totally different. U.S.S.R. is the follower of Communism whereas the U.S.A., Great Britain, France and other western countries follow the policies of Democracy, Capitalism, Imperialism and Colonialism.

Both the blocs (Russian and American) believe in the policy of expansionism and enhancement of military power. Therefore, they are busy in competing with each other in the race of atomic weapons. The instances given above make it crystal clear that the politics of one country is very different from that of the others.

Not only this, even with the same country the politics of one party differs from that of the other. For example, in England the Conservative Party fundamentally differs from the Labour Party in their approach to the political and economic problems of their country.

In the same way various political parties in India fundamentally differ in their approach to the political and economic problems of India. Political Science, on the other hand, conducts the scientific study of the nature, conditions, origin and development of the State and the government.

It studies the State as it is, the State as it has been and the State as it ought to be. It means that the principles of Political Science are universal and are the same everywhere as politics of one country is different from that of another.

Therefore, the use of the term, “Politics” for this science is inappropriate. It is not a proper designation for a science that conducts the scientific study of the State and the Government and enters into its origin, nature and development.

Theoretical and Applied Politics:

Some modern scholars, namely, Jellinck, Paul Janet, Sidgwick and Sir Frederick Pollock still employ the term ‘Politics’ in preference to Political Science.

Sir Frederick Pollock has divided it into two parts:

(a) Theoretical Politics and

(b) Applied Politics.

Theoretical Politics enters into the origin, nature and development of the State and deals with the principles of Political Science. Applied Politics, on the other hand, studies the actual working of the government. In other words, it studies the State in action.

It is true that it is a very useful division; it covers the vast area and scope of the State in all its aspects but the majority of scholars still employ the term Political Science in preference to Theoretical Politics and Applied Politics.

Political Philosophy:

The second designation that has been given to this science is Political Philosophy. In the opinion of R.N. Gilchrist, this term is most useful if it is used for a specific purpose, but it is too narrow to include the whole field covered by Political Science. “Political Philosophy,” says Dr. Garner, “is said to be concerned with a theoretical or speculative consideration of the fundamental principles and essential characteristics of the materials and phenomena with which Political Science has to deal…. If is concerned rather with generalizations than with particulars and predicts essential qualities rather than accidental or unessential characteristics.”

Political Philosophy thus deals with the fundamental problems of the nature of the State, citizenship, questions of duty and right and political ideas. But this is only a part of our study. Still there are some English political thinkers, who believe that this forms the main part of our study.

For example, Sidgwick declares that Political Science “is concerned primarily with constructing, on the basis of certain psychological premises, the system of relations which ought to be established among the persons governing and between them and the governed in a society composed of civilized men as we know them.” But there still remains another considerable part of our study. It is historical and descriptive, what Sir Frederick Pollock calls ‘Applied Polities’. The term, Political Philosophy does not cover the range of Applied Politics.

Political Philosophy is primarily concerned only with the nature of the State, citizenship, nature of sovereignty, the essential qualities of human beings and their rights. It does not deal with the formation of the government, its division, its working and with the historical survey of the origin and development of the State.

No doubt. Applied Politics, as Sir Frederick Pollock calls it, is closely associated with ‘Political Philosophy’ yet Political Philosophy in its turn has to use much of the material supplied by Political Science. In the words of Professor R.N. Gilchrist, “Political Philosophy is in a sense prior to Political Science. But it is too narrow to cover the field of Political Science.”

It is really very difficult to draw a definite line between them. In his famous book, “Main Currents in Modern Political Thought”, J.H. Hallowell has rightly observed that, “Political Philosophy is concerned so much with political institutions as with the ideas and aspirations that are embodied in the institutions. It is not so much interested in how things occur as it is in what occurs and why”.

In short we can say that Political Philosophy is concerned with the principles of Political Science and it enters into the development of political thought, whereas in Political Science we study the political institutions and come to know about their working. Political Philosophy explains to us those fundamental principles which form the basis of political institutions. By studying Political Philosophy we come to know the basic principles of an ideal State.

The principles of the State, described by Acharya Chanakya, Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, J.S. Mill, and T.H. Green form the integral part of the study of Political Philosophy. Theoretical Politics as described by Sir Frederick Pollock is also included in the study of Political Philosophy. But the study of Political Philosophy does not cover the field of Applied Politics which is an equally important part of our study of Political Science. Hence, the term “Political Philosophy” designated to this science is inappropriate, for it does not cover the whole field covered by Political Science.

Political Sciences:

Some writers, notably the French, employ the term Political Sciences in preference to Political Science. These writers, namely, Von Mohl, Holtzendorff, Lewis. Dunning and Giddings argue that the term “Political Science” fails to correspond with the facts, since there is no single science dealing with the State, but rather a group of related sciences, each concerned with a particular aspect of the State.

It is believed that modern state is a very complex organisation “which presents itself under diverse aspects and is capable of being studied from different points of view.” There are a number of related sciences such as Sociology, Political Economy, Public Administration, Diplomacy and Constitutional History, etc., which also deal with the various aspects of the State.

As all of these sciences have their origin, their history and methodology, they are distinct political sciences. Dealing with the term Political Sciences Dr. Garner rightly observes: “The means of knowledge relating to each phase or aspect of the State has developed a history and a dogma of its own quite distinct from the rest. The phenomena of each have become so numerous and complex as to create a necessity for special treatment by the investigator. Thus, the tendency has been to group them into separate categories and treat them as distinct sciences.” But there is another group of writers which goes to the extent of saying that sciences like Sociology and Political Economy, etc., should be called not political sciences but social sciences.

In this connection Munroe Smith observes, “That various relations in which the State may be conceived, may be sub-divided and treated separately but their connection is too intimate and their purpose too similar to justify their erection into different sciences.” Burges, Jellinck, Sidgwick, Seeley, Lewis and Professor Willoughby have also laid stress on the need of using this term, i.e., ‘Political Science’ in singular. In this connection Dr. Garner’s view is worth-observing: “Without attempting to pass judgment upon the respective merits of the two views, it is safe to say that either form may be justified by distinguishing between political science in its street sense, that is, the science which deals exclusively with the phenomena of the state and political science in the wider sense as embracing all the sciences which deal with the particular aspects of state- life such as sociology, history, economics and others. When used in the former sense, the singular should be employed, when used in the latter sense, the plural is justifiable.”

Political Science:

The term which appears quite appropriate and which covers the meaning and the scope of both the designations — “Political Philosophy” and “Politics” and which embraces the range of both Theoretical Politics and Applied Politics is ‘Political Science.’ It is the most comprehensive term which is widely accepted.

It deals with both Theoretical and Applied Politics. On the theoretical side it enters into the origin and nature of the State and on the practical side it deals with the structure, function and form of political institutions and discusses the working of governments. Paul Janet has given a very exact definition of Political Science.

In his words, “Political Science is that part of our study which treats of the foundations of the State and the principles of Government.” Bluntschli a famous Swiss writer has also wisely remarked in this connection. He says, “Politics is more an art than science which has to deal with the practical conduct or guidance of the State whereas Political Science is concerned with the foundations of the State, its essential nature, its forms and manifestations and its developments.”

Thus, it is quite clear that the term, Political Science, is the most appropriate designation for this science that conducts the scientific study of the State and the Government.

Is There a Science of Politics?


Whether Political Science is really a Science?

There is a great diversity of opinion about the scientific character of this science which conducts the study of the State and the Government. Some scholars consider it a science of the State and the Government. While others are of the opinion that it is one of the most backward of all the arts.

It was Aristotle, the great thinker and writer of Greece on this subject, who first of all called it the supreme science. Some other distinguished scholars like, Bodin, Hobbes, Sidgwick, Bluntschli, Lord Bryce, Montesquieu, Cornwall Lewis and Jellinck are also of the same opinion. But there are authors like Buckle, Auguste Comte and F. W. Maitland who have denied the scientific character of Political Science and are not ready to call it a science at all.

In their opinion the scientific study of the State is not possible. Refuting the scientific character of Political Science Maitland—an eminent English writer—observes, “When I see a good set of examination questions headed by the words Political Science, I regret not the question but the title.” Buckle—another famous author also observes that “in the present state of knowledge, Politics so far from being a science is one of the most backward of all the arts.”

While analysing this statement of Buckle, the following comment of Dr. Garner on this statement is worth noting. In his book “Political Science and Government,” Dr. Garner writes, “Buckle, however, did not deny the possibility of a political science, what he lamented was that so little attention had been given to the study of the State that as a systematic branch of knowledge it was too crude and undeveloped to be considered a science.”

Of the same opinion is J.S. Mill who wrote in IM3,”It is accordingly but of yesterday that the concept of a political science has existed anywhere but in the mind of, here and there, an isolated thinker, generally very ill-prepared of the realization.”

Whereas German scholars have gone to the extent of adopting analytical methods in order to give this subject the character of a science, Holtzendorff has defended the claim of this subject to be ranked as a science.

“With the enormous growth of knowledge”, observes Holtzendorff, “it is impossible to deny that the sum total of all the experiences, phenomena and knowledge respecting the State may be brought together under the collective title of Political Science.” Before we conclude whether it is science or not let us discuss both the viewpoints in detail. When we take into consideration the negative view we shall discuss the arguments given in the disfavour of the scientific nature of Political Science.

And when we take the positive view into consideration we shall discuss the arguments given in the favour of the scientific nature of Political Science. Only after that we shall be able to draw a final conclusion.

Arguments against the Scientism of Political Science:

There is a group of writers which fails to recognise the scientific nature of Political Science. These writers refuse to treat Political Science as a science. Auguste Comte, the famous French writer, fails to recognise the scientific character of Political Science and is not ready to call it a science on three grounds.

He denied the claim of “Politics” to be ranked as a science because:

(1) There is no consensus of opinion among experts as to its methods, principles and conclusions;

(2) Because it lacks continuity of a development; and

(3) Because it lacks the elements which constitute a basis of precision.

While Amos’ objection is that practical statesmen “immersed in actual business and oppressed by the ever-recurring presence of new emergencies almost resent the notion of applying the comprehensive principles of science.” “The result is,” he adds, “that Politics floats in the public mind either as a mere field for ingenious chicane or as a boundless waste for scholastic phantasy.”

The scholars who are not willing to recognise the scientific nature of Political Science give the following arguments:

(1) There is no uniformity in the principles of Political Science.

(2) Political Science does not strictly observe the relation of cause and effect as other sciences do.

(3) Scientific methods of observation and experimentation are not possibly applicable to Political Science.

(4) In Political Science we do not find that exactness and absoluteness which we find in Physics and Chemistry.

Several modern cities who are not willing to recognise the scientific character of Political Science, argue that the principles of Political Science are not absolute and universal. It is absolute and universal equation of arithmetic that two and two make four but political Science does not have such absolute arid universal principles.

Besides, there is no consensus of opinion among experts as to its methods, principles and conclusions. For example, Democracy is the best form of government but the experts do not opine alike about it. It is not unanimously accepted that Democracy is the best form of government.

Some scholars like Lecky Sir Henry Maine, Oswald Spanglar, etc., have out rightly condemned Democracy. And it is also difficult to predict whether democratic form of government wills the successful in every country of the world. Owing to certain reasons it has been more successful in some countries while it is less successful in others. For example, in some communist countries like Russia, China, Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Rumania, etc., democratic form of government is yet to be introduced.

In such countries there is only one ruling party and that is Communist Party. While there are other countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Spain, etc., where this form of government could not be successful whereas in England, France, West Germany, Italy, India, Japan. Belgium, Sweden, Holland, Denmark this form of government has already been introduced but it is not equally successful in each of these countries.’ Thus, we fail to find that uniformity, absoluteness and universality in the principles of Political Science which we find in other natural and physical sciences.

Secondly, it is generally argued that like other natural sciences Political Science does not strictly observe the relation of cause and effect. Therefore, it can safely be said that it is not necessary that the same conditions and circumstances will bring in the same results indifferent countries at the same time or at different times.

For example, some years ago late King Mahendra of Nepal abolished democratic form of government in his country and enforced his personal rule without any reaction on the part of the native people. Had this been done in England, there would have been a revolution. Despite this, there are many causes responsible for the political happenings.

It is very difficult to find out which particular cause has helped in the happening of the particular political incident. We do not have the consensus of opinion among experts as to its real cause. Really it is very difficult to find out the actual causes responsible for the revolutions that broke out some years ago in different parts of the world.

It is also equally difficult to find out the causes that led to the collapse of the various forms of government’s functioning in Turkey, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Africa and Hungary, Argentina and Chile (South America) from 1947 to 1979.

It will be very difficult to hold a single cause responsible for all these political happenings. Keeping in view the different conditions prevailing in different countries, we have to hold different causes responsible for different happenings in the different countries of the world.

Thirdly, it is generally argued that the scientific methods of observation and experimentation are not possibly applicable to Political Science. These methods of observation and experimentation play a decisive role in natural and physical sciences. For example, we study in chemistry that when we mix one portion of oxygen into two portions of Hydrogen; the result is the formation of water.

This type of chemical formation takes place everywhere at every time and in every place and circumstance. But such types of experiments are not possible in Political Science. Therefore, it becomes very difficult for a political investigator to and at definite conclusions.

This is the reason why a political experiment that becomes successful in a country proves an utter failure in the other. For example, prohibition (of wine) could not prove successful in America. A few years ago India also started prohibiting wine in some of its parts.

But in India prohibition was not so much objected to as it was in America. Not to speak of America, even within India it could- not prove equally successful in all the States. It proved more successful in some States than in the others.

Co-operative Farming is another glaring example which proves this point that the methods of observation and experimentation are not possibly applicable to Political Science. Co-operative Farming could not prove so successful and useful in India as it had proved in Israel and other counties.

Co­operative Movement could not flourish in India as it did in West Germany. Adult Education and Community Development Schemes could not be so successful in India as they had been in America. Therefore, it is generally believed that Political Science is not an exact science as it fails to observe uniformity.

The next objection raised against the scientism of Political Science is that the exactness and absoluteness of Physics and Chemistry are absent in Political Science. For example, it is an absolute law of science that water falls from higher altitude to lower one and that it always keeps its level. Similarly, the Law of Gravity is a never-changing law of science.

It is always absolutely true that if anything is thrown high, it will fall on ground. Another glaring example that proves the absoluteness of the laws of science is that things spread in heat and shrink in cold. In Political Science we fail to frame such laws as never know any change and are always the same.

For example, there is a great diversity of opinion about the number of chambers in a legislative body. J.S. Mill is the supporter of Bicameral System whereas Laski, Abbie Sieyes and others are in favour of Unicameralism.

Arguments in Favour of the Scientism of Political Science:

Aristotle, Bodin, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Cornwall Lewis, Sidgwick, Lord Bryce, Bluntschli and Jellinck are not satisfied with the arguments given against the scientism of Political Science. While German scholars have gone to the extent of adopting analytical methods in order to give Political Science the character of a science, Holtzendorff has defended the claim of Political Science to be ranked as a science.

He observes: “With the enormous growth of knowledge, it is impossible to deny the sum total of all the experiences, phenomena and knowledge respecting the state, may be brought together under the collective title of Political Science.”

Von Mohl, Bluntschli, Retzenhofer, Treitschke, Lieber, Burgess and Professor Willoughby are of the same opinion. They agree to the opinion of Holtzendorff. Dr. Garner is also willing to recognise the scientific nature of Political Science.

But before proving the scientism of Political Science, it seems to be absolutely essential to define the term ‘science’. Only then it will be possible for us to conclude whether Political Science is a science or not. “Science is a knowledge”, writes Dr. Garner, “relating to a particular subject acquired by a systematic observation, experience or study which have been coordinated, systematized and classified.”

The classification of facts and the taking of absolute judgments upon the basis of this classification sum up the aim and method of modern sciences. According to Pearson the function of science is “the classification of facts, the recognition of their sequence and relative significance.”

Thomson believes that science includes “all knowledge communicable and verifiable, which reached by methodical observation and experiment and which admits of concise, consistent and connected formulation. These definitions are probably as satisfactory as any brief formulation can be.

If we view from this angle, we come to know that Political Science is really a science because it is also a systematized knowledge and because its conclusions are drawn after observation and experimentation. History is the laboratory of Political Science. When a government makes a new law, it becomes a new experiment in Political Science.

For example, following the Act of 1919, Dyarchy was introduced in the provinces of India but it could not prove successful. Therefore, the Act of 1935 abolished it and a new experiment was conducted. This experiment is known as Provincial Autonomy but this experiment too could not be successful.

It could not be successful because the Governors of the concerned States started interfering unnecessarily in the workings of the governments. For example, the then Governor of the Punjab dismissed Shaukat Hayat Khan, a minister of higher rank.

Likewise the then Governors of Bengal and Sindh dismissed Mr. Fazlul Haq and Mr. Allah Baksh, the then Chief Ministers of the respective states. At last on August 15, 1947, the English had to yield to the circumstances and declare India free.

They had to do so because all other experiments which they conducted for satisfying the people of India proved a failure. Thus, this new experiment which introduced a secular state in India proved a success. This makes it very clear that experimentation is possible in Political Science, even though the exactness of Physics and Chemistry is lacking in it.

Undoubtedly, it is true that Political Science does not have the absolute and universal laws of natural science yet such conclusions are possible in Political Science as often prove true. For example, there is no denying the fact that democratic government is the best form of government.

It is more permanent than most other forms of government and helps more in promoting the welfare of the common people. Monarchy, Dictatorship, Aristocracy, Oligarchy and other forms of government were introduced and experimented in the different parts of the world in ancient, medieval and modern times but none of them proved successful.

Aristotle thoroughly studied the political history and the governmental systems of 158 countries and arrived at the conclusion that “Inequality is the mother of revolution”. Similarly, these conclusions are also true that the abuse of political power results in mutiny; that Socialism is better than Imperialism; that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The next objection raised against the scientific nature of Political Science is that there is no consensus of opinion among experts as to its methods, principles and conclusions. Though it is true yet the fault does not lie with Political Science.

The fact is that Political Science is a dynamic study of a living subject-matter which is to be translated in terms of living human activity. Unlike other natural sciences it does not deal with the static subject-matter. Political Science deals with man and his institutions. Man is dynamic and so are his institutions.

His nature changes with the changing conditions. Therefore, his institutions are bound to adjust themselves with the changing needs of human life with the changing circumstances of time. It is true that experts of Political Science differ on their methods, principles and conclusion yet sometimes they agree too. For example, all the experts of Political Science unanimously accept the fact that Imperialism, Colonialism, Casteism, inequality, untouchability, illiteracy and poverty are evils of society and they should be rooted oat.

The fourth objection raised against the scientism of Political Science is that like other physical and natural sciences it does not strictly observe the theory of cause and effect. No doubt it is true that Political Science does not strictly observe the theory of cause and effect but it goes without saying that every political incident has its own causes and effect.

For example, we generally find that poverty, corruption, and too much exploitation of people lead to the outbreak of revolution. And after revolution generally a socialist government is formed in the affected country.

If a country suffers from a regular political upheaval or its territory is encroached by some other powerful country, then Democracy is m peril there and there is every likelihood of Dictatorship being enforced. For example, after the First Great War Dictatorship carne into force in Italy and Germany.

It is true that it is not possible for Political Science to attain the same degree of exactness and universal application of its principles and laws that other natural and physical sciences do attain. It is also true that its development is not always continuous.

It is also true that it does not have such consensus of opinion among its experts as to its methods, principles and conclusions as other natural and physical science have. But “we can become”, says Dr. Finer, “the prophets of the possible if not the seers of the certain”.

In Political Science we study the present in the light of the past and try to become the seers of the future. Therefore, it can safely be said that Political Science may not afford to be an exact science like other natural and physical sciences but there is no denying the fact that it is a social science. Besides this, we should also realise that the subject – matter of Political Science is not static. On the contrary it deals with the living subject-matter which is always dynamic. It deals with man whose nature changes with the passage of time and whose activities, resultantly, undergo a change.

Time and clime both play their part in human affairs. But in spite of all these conditions and reservations, the scientific nature of Political Science does not suffer any set-back. It will remain a science so long as it is a systematised knowledge and so long as it observes the possibility of adopting the methods of observation and experimentation.

Secondly, if Meteorology can be recognised and accepted as one of the social sciences even though its fore-telling are not always true, why not Political Science.’ This is the reason why Lord Bryce does not hesitate to call Political Science an undeveloped and incomplete science.

According to him, “Politics is a science in the sense that there is constancy and uniformity in the tendencies of human nature, which enables us to regard the acts of men at one time as due to the same causes which have governed their acts at previous times. Whereas Prof. Gilchrist believes that general laws can be deduced from given material and these laws are useful in actual problems of the Government.

He says, “While we may agree that the exactness of natural sciences is impossible of attainment in the social science, nevertheless social problems can be treated with the same scientific methods as Chemistry and Physics.

These results indeed may not be so accurate or so easily tested but as we shall see, the various subjects, with which we deal, present a systematized mass of material which is capable of being treated by ordinary scientific methods.

We shall see that general laws can be deduced from given material and these laws are useful in actual problems of Government.”As a science it falls short, of course, of the degree of perfection attained by the physical science, “says Dr. Garner, “for the reason that the facts with which it deals are more complex and the causes which influence social and practical phenomena are more difficult to control and are perpetually undergoing a change. As yet it is still probably the most incomplete and undeveloped of all the social sciences.”

No doubt it is true that Political Science has not been able to attain the same degree of exactness and perfection that other physical and natural sciences have attained, yet it claims to be called a science because it has the systematized knowledge of a particular subject.

It claims to be called a science as it possesses the possibility of adopting the scientific methods of observation and experimentation. It claims to be called a science as there is constancy and uniformity in the tendencies of human nature with which it deals.

Thus, we cannot deny the scientific character of Political Science, tor there is an accumulation of facts the linking of these facts as cause and effect and the formulation of general laws which are useful in the actual problems of the Government. In the end we can conclude that Political Science is, no doubt, a science. But it is not a science in the sense in which other natural and physical sciences are. It is one of the social sciences dealing with the dynamic subject matter of study. According to Gettell and Bluntschli, Political Science bears the character of art also.

Like other arts it deals with the various aspects of the life and tells us how and in w hat way we should lead our life. It also tells us how we can become better citizens and w hat are our rights and duties. So it will not be wrong to call it an art also. Buckle goes to the extent of calling it most backward of all the arts. But at the same time the scientific nature of Political Science cannot be denied. Lord Bryce has equated Political Science with the science of Meteorology. Sir Frederick Pollock compares it with the science of morals. He rightly affirms, “political science must and does exist, if it were only for the reputation of absurd political theories and projects.”

Different Methods or Approaches of Political Science:

Differences from Physical Science:

It becomes quite clear from the above discussion that Political Science is a science; it possesses the scientific character; and it is capable of conducting the scientific study of the State and the government. However, the methods of Political Science differ from those of Physics, Chemistry and other natural and physical sciences.

In Political Science we have to face certain limitations and reservations. The material with which Political Science deals is totally different from the material with which other natural and physical sciences deal.

Secondly, in Political Science we cannot make use of artificial contrivances (such as apparatus) for increasing or guiding the investigators power of observation or for registering the results. Here an investigator has to work without mechanical assistance.

Not only this, here an investigator is handicapped “by the fact that phenomena with which Political Science deals do not follow one another according to invariable laws of sequence but rather at indeterminate intervals, constituting as a noted writer observed an interminable and perpetually varying series.”

Physical phenomena basically differ from social phenomena. “Social facts never recur”, says Dr. Garner, “at regular intervals as the manifestation of general laws, but rather as the actions of individuals or groups. The facts of natural sciences are susceptible of evaluation; they are governed by uniform and invariable laws, each particle of matter is identical with every other of its own kind. An atom of carbon or a molecule of carbolic acid is not different from any other atom or molecule: but the units of the social organism may differ infinitely from one another. In other words, Political Science deals with man and the laws, constitutions and political institutions.

Since his nature goes on changing, the laws framed by him and the constitutions and political institutions, made and supported by him, are bound to undergo changes with the changing conditions. Physics, Chemistry and other natural sciences deal with the mater that is inanimate and that remains the same.

Secondly, like other chemicals human tendencies which affect social and political life to a very great extent cannot be measured with the help of any artificial apparatus. Thirdly, we cannot observe the same degree of objectivity in our experiments of Political Science as we observe in Physics and Chemistry.

In other words, Political experiments are not so objective as the experiments of other natural sciences are, Experiments in Political Science are not so objective because the angle of our vision and our view-points indirectly influence us, Therefore it is necessary that we should be very careful while conducting any study in Political Science.

Here we have to work without mechanical assistance. In this connection it has rightly been observed that, “what the microscope is to Biology, or the telescope to astronomy, a scientific method is to social sciences.”

The Problem of Methodology:

It was as late as the beginning of nineteenth century when the political thinkers thought of finding out some methods of Political Science. Aristotle, Machiavelli, Bodin, Hobbes, Vico, Locke, Montes­quieu and others had their own methods.

Later on Political Science developed its interdependent discipline and after that political thinkers dealt with this problem seriously. Among those who have made special contribution to solve this problem are Auguste Comte, John, Stuart Mill, Alexander Bain, Sir Cornwall Lewis and Lord Bryce.

Auguste Comte believes that there can be three methods for the scientific study of social phenomena. These three methods are: “Observation, Experiment, and Comparison. While John Stuart Mill recognises four methods: Chemical or Experimental, Geometrical or Abstract, Physical or Concrete- deductive and the historical method.

The first two, he considers, to be false and the last two, the true ones. Bluntschli recognises only two methods of political investigation. They are: Philosophical and Historical. Deslanders, a recent French scholar, recognises six methods of political investigation.

They are: Sociological, Comparative, Dogmatic, Juridical, the methods of good sense and the historical method. Seeley favours inductive method. Janes Bryce believes that proper methods of political investigation are Observational, Experimental, Historical, and Comparative.

While Dr. Garner prefers Comparative method which, according to him, is “so broad as to comprehend the process of accumulation, arrangement, classification, co-ordination, culmination and deduction.” Thus, it becomes quite clear that political thinkers have adopted and favoured the methods of their own choice.

The methods that have gained the favour of most of the political thinkers in modern times are the following:

(1) The Experimental Method;

(2) The Historical Method;

(3) The Comparative Method;

(4) The Method of Observation;

(5) The Philosophical Method;

(6) The Statistical Method;

(7) The Biological Method;

(8) The Psychological Method;

(9) The Juridical Method;

(10) The Sociological Method;

(1) The Experimental Method:

Experimental Method is regarded as the most popular and the best suited method for natural sciences. It will not be wrong to say that it is the only method which could prove most useful and successful for natural and physical sciences. It is this method which is generally adopted while dealing with natural and physical sciences.

Following this method we deal with a particular phenomenon in the laboratory and arrive at definite conclusions. But there are writers who believe that this method is not suitable for Political Science. J.S. Mill, Lowell and Vaughan are some of the scholars who consider this method inapplicable to social phenomena.

Sir George Cornwall Lewis remarks, “We cannot treat the body politic as corpus vile and vary its circumstances at our pleasure for the sake only of ascertaining abstract truth. We cannot do in politics what the experimenter does In Chemistry. We cannot try how the substance is affected by change in temperature, by dissolution in liquids, by combination with other chemical agents and the like. We cannot take a portion of the community in our hands as the king Brobdignag took Gulliver, view it in different aspects and place it in different positions In order to solve social problems and satisfy our speculative curiosity.”

Lord Bryce also observes that “the phenomena with which the chemist deals are and always have been identical; they can be weighed and measured, whereas human phenomena can only be described. We can measure temperature, humidity and the force of wind but we cannot determine how hot were the passions of a mob.

We may say that in political crisis the opinion of a cabinet will have weight but we cannot say how much will it be. Opinions, emotions and other factors which influence politics are not capable of computations.

“Experiments”, says Lord Bryce, “can be tried in physics over and over again till a conclusive result is reached, but that which we call an experiment in politics can never be repeated because conditions can never be exactly reproduced, as Heraclitus says that one cannot step twice into the same river. Prediction in physics may be certain. In politics it can at best be no more than probable.”

Vaughan is of the opinion that “political experimentation in the sense in which it is applied to the study of physics or chemistry is impossible since the power of isolating each individual process of inquiry, which is the essence of such experimentation, does not exist.”

Let it be admitted for a while that scientific experimentation is not possible in Political Science since we fail to find here the same exactness and accuracy that is found in natural and physical sciences. But there is not denying the fact that political experiments have been and are being tried and these experiments have had and are having the same results in similar conditions.

In this regard Comte has very aptly pointed out that every political change is a sort of experiment. Every new law passed by the government, every new policy adopted by the nation and every political change that has been made in the political structure of the country is a sort of experiment.

When the government of a country passes a new law and if the public of that country accepts the new law, it is believed that the new political experiment, tried by the government, has proved a success. But, if the public does not recognise the new law passed by the government, the experiment is regarded as a failure.

For example, keeping in view the report of the States’ Re-organisation Commission, Bombay was declared a bilingual state in 1956. Maharashtra and Gujarat were included in this bilingual State. This experiment tried by the Indian government proved a failure.

Soon it was demanded that the State should be divided into two separate states 0n the basis of languages, written and spoken in the state. When our late Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru refused to divide the State into two separate states, riots broke out in Maharashtra and Dr. Deshmukh, the then Finance Minister of India from that State tendered his resignation as a protest.

After his resignation, situation in Maharashtra deteriorated and at last Bombay had to be divided into two separate states, and named Maharashtra and Gujarat. The second glaring example to prove this point is the Dowry Bill. In order to abolish the Dowry system, the Government of India got the Dowry Bill passed in the Parliament but this new experiment could not prove a success.

Similarly, other political experiments tried by the government could not prove a success. Community Development Project or rural integrated development programmes. Adult Education and other new experiments have been unsuccessful to a very great extent.

The public did not show so much of enthusiasm in accepting the new laws passed by the government as the government expected the public to show. While on the other hand some of the new experiments tried by the government proved a great success.

The government has been, to a very great extent, successful in eradicating untouchability from Indian society. Similarly, Panchayat Raj has been a very successful experiment. These are all the experiments, tried in the field of Political Science.

Lucknow Pact of 1916, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919, the Communal Award of 1932, the Poona Pact of the same year, the Government of India Act of 1935, the August offer of 1940, the Cripps Proposals of 1942, the C. R. Formula of 1944, the Wavell plan of 1945, the Cabinet Mission Scheme of 1946.

Attlee Statement of February, 1947, and finally the Partition Scheme were so many experiments tried for improving the governmental mechanism of India. New experiments like Compulsory Deposit Scheme, Economic Planning and Family Planning were also being tried some time ago.

These political experiments have always been tried in almost all the countries of the world. Take the example of Germany. In Germany the democratic government committed to Weimer Constitution, started functioning after 1922. But it could not prove a success and due to certain causes it collapsed, after that in 1933 Hitler established dictatorship but after the Second World War dictatorship was abolished and democracy was again introduced.

Now, we cannot predict anything about this new experiment. Similar is the situation in many other countries. Such experiments will continue to be made in political sphere. Dr. Garner rightly affirms that “the enactment of every new law, the establishment of every new policy is experimental in the sense, that it is regarded merely as provisional or tentative until the results have proved its fitness to become permanent.”

(2) The Historical Method and Its Analysis of the Past Political Institutions:

The second important method of studying political phenomena is historical. Montesquieu, Seeley, Maine, Freeman and Laski are some of the eminent exponents of this method. Professor Gilchrist has very aptly remarked, “The source of the experiment of Political Science is history; they rest on observation and experience.”

“The study of Political Science”, according to Laski, “must be an effort to codify the results of experience in the history of States”. It will not be wrong to say that history serves as a guide to the present and future. Laski has very aptly observed, “What it is and why it is, it is by reason of its history. It’s becoming is the clue of its being and it is from that being that we must wrest its secret”.

History serves as a best kind of laboratory for Political Science. It is the store-house of incidents pertaining to human life. It keeps in secret the record of the progress and downfall of human civilisation and culture. The origin of every political institution can be traced in the pages of history.

Therefore, it becomes necessary to seek the help of history, if we wish to learn about the origin and development of a political institution. The present it is the gift of the past. This is the reason why we seek the help of history, when we study the origin, development and the present nature of such important political institutions as the State and the Government.

Professor Gilchrist very correctly regards this method as the chief method of studying political phenomena. “The chief method of experimen­tation in Political Science”, says Professor Gilchirst, “is the historical method, properly to understand political institutions, we must study them in their religion, their growth and development. History not only explains institutions but it helps us to make certain deduction for future guidance. It is the pivot round which both the inductive and deductive processes of Political Science work.”

Sir Fredrick Pollock also admires this method. “The historical methods,” says Sir Fredrick Pollock “seeks an explanation of what institutions are and are tending to be more in the knowledge of what they have been and how they have been and how they came to what they are, than in the analysis of them as they stand.” According to Professor Gilchrist, every change in the form of government, every law passed by the government and every war is an experiment in Political Science.

Dr. Garner calls this method a really particular form of comparative method. “It brings in review the great political movements of the past,” says Dr. Garner, “traces the organic development of the national life, inquiries into the growth of political ideas from their inception to their realisation in objective institutions, discovers the moral idea as revealed in history, and thereby points out the way of progress.

Dr. Garner observes, “None can deny the fact that political institutions can be better analysed and understood only through the knowledge of the past, that is how they have developed, or become what they are, and to what extent they have responded to the purposes for which they were originally destined”.

It means historical approach is the doctrine of evolution applied to human institutions. Garner says that historical approach brings in review the great political movements of the past, traces the organic development of the national life, inquiries into the growth of political ideas from their inception to their realisation in objective institutions, discovers the moral idea as revealed in history and thereby points out the ways of progress.

Sabine and other traditional writers attached great importance to historical approach. “A political theory”, according to Sabine “is always advanced in reference to a pretty specific situation”. It is therefore essential to understand “the time, place and circumstances in which it was produced”.

Limitations of historical Method:

Like other methods, historical method also has its limitations. Lord Bryce has warned us against superficial resemblances. He points out that “historical parallels” are generally interesting and sometimes illuminating but are always “misleading”.

Lord Bryce believes that there is always the danger of confusing the personal or accidental factors with the general causes at work such as “attributing to some outstanding personality, an influence upon the course of history out of proportion to its importance.”

The historical investigator, according to him, is exposed to emotional influences. He may be influenced consciously or unconsciously by his “religious beliefs”, his “political partnership”, his “racial prejudices” or his “philosophical doctrines”.

Other political thinkers have also gone to the extent of criticising and giving this method a secondary position. Sidgwick and other followers of Philosophical School give this method a secondary position for two reasons. He believes that history cannot determine the ultimate standard of good or bad or of right or wrong in political life.

It determines goodness or badness of political institutions on other grounds than historical, i.e., ethical or philosophical. History is a mere narration of events and it is not concerned with the goodness or badness of those events. Historical method should, therefore, essentially be preceded by philosophical method.

Secondly, historical method does not give valuable suggestions to meet the demands of the present and the future. It only tells us what the political institutions have been. Every age has its own problems and the solution of these problems should also be in accordance with the conditions of that age.

Historical study of political phenomena enables us only in a very limited sense to choose the correct and suitable means for attaining the end of political life. It does so not only because it is difficult to ascertain the past events with accuracy but also because each age has its own problems and every problem requires a solution relative to the time in which it occurs.

Views of David Easton:

David Easton holds that historical approach degenerates into historicism. By historicism, he means that researchers mix up their own values with History. They try to uphold their own values on the basis of historical evidence. This is what Sabine, Dunning and Mcllwain have done.”

Views of Seeley:

But in spite of all these well-reasoned arguments, against this method, the utility of the historical method cannot be denied. Now history has become more scientific than ever before. Seeley has rightly observed that “we must think, reason, generalise, define and distinguish. We must also collect, authenticate and investigate.

If we neglect the first process, we shall accumulate facts to little purpose because we shall have no test by which to distinguish facts which are Important from those which are unimportant, and, of course, we neglect the second process, our reasoning will be baseless and we shall but weave scholastic cobwebs.” Therefore, it is advisable that we shall be very cautious, critical and objective while adopting the historical method for the study of political phenomena.

(3) The Comparative Method:

The third important method of dealing with the political phenomena is the Comparative Method, a method as old as Aristotle. It was Aristotle who first of all employed this method in analysing and comparing constitutions of 158 countries. He analysed and compared IS8 constitutions with a view to framing a suitable constitution for an ideal state.

In modern times, this method has been employed by Montesquieu, De Tocqueville, Laboulaye, Lord Bryce and others. This method tells us that in order to find out the causes responsible or the political happenings; we must compare the various events, recorded in the world history. Professor Gilchrist believes that this method is rather a supplement to the historical method.

This method aims at the study “of existing politics or those which have existed in the past to assemble a definite body of material from which the investigator, by selection, comparison and elimination, may discover the ideal types of progressive forces of political history.

Lord Bryce, who himself applied this method in his studies, says, “That which entitles it to be called scientific is that it reaches general conclusions by tracing similar results to similar causes, eliminating those disturbing influences which are present in one country and are absent in another, make the results in the examined cases different in some points while similar in others. When by this method of comparison the differences between the working of democratic government in one country and another have been noted the local or special conditions, physical or racial or economic, will be examined so as to determine whether it is in them that the source of these differences is to be found. If not in them, then we must turn to the institutions and try to discover which of those that exist in popular governments have worked best…… After the differences between one popular government and another have been accounted for, the points of similarity which remain will be what one may call democratic human nature, viz., the normal or permanent habits and tendencies of citizens in a democracy and a democratic community as a whole.”

The very essence of this method lies in comparing different historical facts and political events with a view to finding out the causes responsible for them. Similar events may occur under different political conditions or vice versa (similar political conditions may lead to different events). Professor Gilchrist has given the example of Revolutions. Revolutions, according to him, have taken place at all times and under various conditions. By the use of the comparative method we try to know what is common and seek to find out common causes and consequences.

We may take the example of Russian Revolution. Political thinkers compare it to the Great Rebellion and the French Revolution. They not only try to explain what had happened but also point out general principles which may serve as a guide for the future. Aristotle also employed the same method.

He studied the constitutions of 158 countries and after having compared certain factors, he arrived at the conclusion that “Inequality is the mother of Revolution.” Indian Constitution could be also attain perfection only because it assimilated many points borrowed from foreign constitutions.

The constitutional adviser to Indian Government visited a number of progressive nations, studied their constitutions and after having compared these constitutions, he gave his report. Indian Constituent Assembly took a very great advantage of it and included, in Indian Constitution, many points, borrowed from foreign constitutions.

Like other methods. Comparative method also suffers from some limitations. Dr. Garner has warned us against the danger of the comparative method. “The danger of the comparative method,” says Dr. Garner, “lies in the liability to error to which it is susceptible in practice since In the effort to discover general principles, the diversity of conditions and circumstances such as differences of temperament and genius of the people, economic and social conditions, moral and legal standards, political training and experience are apt to be ignored or minimised.”

For example, a comparison of the United States and India with regard to democracy would be useless. Herbert Spencer’s comparison is another glaring example of the wrong use of this method. He compared the state to a living organism and arrived at absurd conclusions. His conclusions were wrong because while considering a living organism, he tried to establish an analogy between the functions of the state and those of a living organism.

His analogy between a state and a living organism suffered from two main weaknesses. Barker has very aptly observed in this connection that one must not forget that metaphor is not an argument and a parallel between a state and an individual is not an explanation of their relation. Therefore, it is very clear that this method should be employed with a great care and caution.

Professor Gilchrist believes that in the comparative method the ordinary process of inductive logic must be followed. These are:

(a) The method of simple agreement;

(b) The method of single difference;

(c) The double method of agreement or as Sir John Stuart Mill call it the joint method of agreement and difference;

(d) The method of residues; and

(e) The method of concomitant (accompanying) variations.

These methods, applicable in natural sciences like chemistry, are equally applicable in Political Science, though the results are not so accurate.” In spite of all these weaknesses and limitations, the comparative method that proved to be a very useful method provided it is employed with a great care and caution.

(4) The Method of Observation:

The next important method for dealing with the political phenomena is the Method of Observation. This method was first adopted by Plato and Aristotle, then by Montesquieu and Lord Bryce. Lord Bryce has laid great emphasis on the use of this method.

He employed this method in the preparation of his two great books – “The American Commonwealth” and “Modern Democracies.” He visited several countries and collected the data after having studied personally the psychology of the political institutions. Lowell is also of the opinion that “politics is an observational and not an experimental science.”

A library, according to him is a laboratory of political science only in a limited sense, books for most purposes being no more original sources for the ‘physiology of politics than they are for geology or astronomy. The main laboratory for the outworking of political institutions”, says Lowell, “is not library but the outside world of political life.”

This method, being inductive, is more practical and realistic. Following this method, the political investigator collects analyses and classifies the political data, after having closely contacted, minutely observed and thoroughly studied the social, economic conditions and the nature and the governmental systems of the concerned countries.

He studies the data very closely and then draws some conclusions. In the olden times, Plato visited almost all the progressive countries right from Asia to Southern Italy. He closely studied the social, economic and political conditions of these countries and then could be able to propound certain principles of Political Science.

Likewise, Aristotle also visited several countries with a view to widening his mental horizon and adding to his knowledge. But his vision with regard to the supremacy of City-States had been very narrow. In the same way being extremely dissatisfied and disgusted with the French Governmental system in Louis XV (1715-1774 A. D.) regime, Montesquieu came to England, studied its constitution and felt impressed and then propounded the Theory of Separation of Powers.

In modern times Lord Bryce employed this method. He visited U.S.A., Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland and New Zealand and closely studied the constitutions of these countries. He came in close contact with the social, economic and political conditions of these countries.

He met many political leaders there and tries to follow the nature and working of the governmental systems of these countries. He collected much of information by personal conversation with the people and by direct observation of what governments were doing and how they were doing it.

Like other methods, this method is also not free from limitations. According to Lord Bryce, while adopting this method a political investigation “must not confine his observation to a single country; the field must be enlarged to include the phenomena of all countries; the fundamentals of human nature are the same everywhere, but political habits and temperaments vary in different countries. He must be aware of superficial resemblances and deadly analogies; he must avoid generalizations not based on facts; he must be critical of his sources of information and must disengage personal or accidental causes from general causes.”

The first desideratum according to Lord Bryce, is to know the fact. He further adds, “Make sure of it. Get it perfectly clear. Polish it till it sparkles and shines like a gem. Then connect it with other facts. Examine it in its relation to them for in that lies its worth and its significance. It is of little use alone. So make it a diamond and in the necklace, a stone, perhaps a corner-stone in your building.”

(5) Philosophical Method:

The fifth method of studying the political phenomena is philosophical. All the methods discussed above are inductive in nature. They observe and study different facts and then come to certain generalizations. On the contrary, the philosophical Method is speculative and is deductive in nature.

Here we begin with certain assumptions and determine institutions which best realise them. “The truly philosophical, deductive or a prior method of which Rousseau, Mill and Sidgwick are exponents,” says Prof. Gilchrist, “start from some abstract original ideas as to the nature of the state, its aims, its functions and its future. It then attempts to harmonise its theory of the actual facts of history”.

Plato, Rousseau, Kant, Bosanquet, J.S. Mill and Sidgwick are some of the exponents of this method. Almost all the political thinkers, who wished to organise an ideal state, adopted this method. When dealing with the question, “what ought to be” we have to depend on the philosophical method.

The philosophical method does not argue from facts to laws, “but starts with assumptions about the nature and ends of the State based on philosophical ground or taken from actual experience and then determines the institutions best adopted to realise them, i.e., construct an ideal state on their basis and criticises existing institutions.”


Like other methods, the Philosophical Method also suffers from certain limitations. The danger of this method is that the user of this method sometimes forgets the facts and allows his imagination to run riot. He deduces the theories which have little or no foundation in historical fact.

Since this method aims at discovering, “what the state ought to be” the ends and the purposes of the state are drawn from philosophical angle. Plato in his famous book “Republic” and Sir Thomas Moore in his famous book “Utopia” conceived of an ideal state, a state that has no or little foundation on the basis of historical facts and that does not bear any relationship to human nature and the reality of this earth.

This type of State is the reality of imaginary world. Similarly, Karl Marx was so greatly impressed by the economic factor that he judged everything in terms of money. He thought that history had always been determined by the economic factor. He based his political ideology on the theory of “economic interpretation of history.”

The result of all this is that the philosophical method degenerates into what Bluntschli calls an ideology which pays little or no attention to the facts. This is very dangerous in practice. The French Revolution is a glaring example. The leaders of the French Revolution and their blind followers preached the doctrine of liberty, equality and fraternity. In France, thousands of people were killed because of the violence which followed this revolution.

Russia, China and many other Communist countries became the victims of the theory of Economic Interpretation, Class-struggle and Surplus Value propounded by Karl Marx. The preaching of those theories led to the collapse of the then governments of these countries and to the slaughter of millions of people.


This approach has been criticised on the following grounds:

(1) It possesses academic value only;

(2) This approach takes into account bigger issues and ignores smaller ones;

(3) Herbert Simon, and William and Goyee Mitchell have criticised Waldo, a traditional in these words: “We do not see how we can progress in political philosophy if we continue to think and write in the loose, literary, metaphorical style that he (Waldo) and most other theorists adopt”.

(4) Philosophical approach ignores the role that sociological environments and the behaviour of the individuals play in conditioning a political phenomenon. The actual actors in all political phenomena are the individuals whose behaviour is in turn formed by his psychological make-up and the sociological environments.


Though it is admitted that philosophical approach has some drawbacks, yet its long use has conclusively proved that it is advantageous also. For example: (a) It helps in distinguishing good from bad; (b) It helps in value- laden study, which eventually helps in evaluating a theory. “Values” according to Leo Strauss, “cannot be excluded from the study of politics. A theory is regarded as good or bad only from the angle of its value. Generally speaking it is impossible to understand thought or action or work without evaluating it”.

(6) Institutional approach:

This approach concentrates on the study of the institutions “ranging from constitutions and other basic documents on which the Government is supposed to rest, through the structure of legislatures, courts and executive branches, to the rules by which political parties are run, registration and election laws and the intricacies of different forms of municipal Government”. Wasby rightly observes: “The emphasis of the institutional or structural approach is almost exclusively on the formal aspects of government and politics”.

This approach dates back to Aristotle who had analysed 158 constitutions of various countries of the world but it attained popularity only in the first quarter of ‘ the 20th century. Therefore Wasby writes: “While its roots extend back in time to Aristotle’s description and classification of the Constitutions of Greek City-states, its place in the study of politics comes after the philosophical approach and it is still either the predominant approach to contemporary study of politics or of equal rank with the much newer behavioural approach”.

The main defect in this approach is that it does not take into account the individuals who run these institutions. So David Easton has criticised this approach by saying that the individuals are treated as “Wooden automation”. They have no will of their own which courts in this approach. Wasby writes: “Individuals in effect, are treated, as undifferentiated, as constant units and different effects which the rules might have on different individuals are not examined, on the ground that institution be understood before its effects can be understood”.

This approach became prevalent in the Middle Ages when the individual monarchs were autocratic because the democrats emphasised the supremacy of the institutions over the arbitrary will of the individual monarchs. The democrats thought the Constitution, the rule of law, parliament and independent judiciary might be able to check the ambitions and arbitrary will of the monarchs.

Therefore they considered institutions as supreme. Such studies were conducted on a comparative basis. The outstanding examples being “The Theory and practice of Modern Governments by Heman Finer, Dicey’s law of the Constitution, Monro’s European Governments.


Of all the traditional approaches, the institutional approach has become the least rewarding in the present day due to the following reasons:

(1) It neglects the role of the individual as explained above;

(2) It neglects this fart that the institutions are conditioned by sociological factors;

(3) This approach does not clarify as to what is to be included or excluded from its study, therefore it has not been regarded as a standard approach;

(4) It cannot be considered as an independent approach because it studies the institutions in isolation and not in the integrated way;

(5) It ignores the study of international institutions and limits itself to the study of national institutions which is only a half-way approach to the problem;

(6) It does not help in formulating a theory.

(7) The Statistical of the Quantitative Method:

This is one of the most modern and most useful methods for dealing with the political phenomena. Since it has proved most useful method, it is very popular these days. Before chalking out the Five Years Plans and before determining national policies, the government collects the date of production, distribution, consumption, import and export of various items, and on the basis of the collected data, the government deals with the present situation.

In order to be apprised of the exact situation and in order to know the exact position of its population, the government collects the data of majority and minority groups of the people. Such data play a decisive role during the days of general elections.

Every political party collects the data of the people of various races inhabiting different constituencies and on the basis of such data, it makes a guess as to how many also collects the data in order to be apprised of the economic condition of the country and only on the basis of these data the government arrives at the conclusion whether there has been any increase in the national income or not.

The opposition parties also criticise the government only on the basis of data. The only and the greatest flaw in this method is that we are not supplied with the exact data. Wrong data are supplied and on the basis of inexact data, wrong decisions are very often taken.

(8) The Biological Method:

The biological method is also used in dealing with the political phenomena. The biological method attributes to the state the qualities of a living organism. It attempts to define and classify its separate parts, to describe its structure iii the nomenclature of anatomy.

At the same time it attempts to differentiate and analyse its functions and trace its life processes according to the methods and in the terminology of the biological sciences. Auguste Comte Herbert Spencer, Gumplowicz and Schaiffle, Durkheim, De Greef, Fouillee, Worms and Letourneau and the Russian Lilienfeld and Novicov are some of the persons who made notable contribution to the study of organised society from the biological point of view.

Like other methods this method is also not free from flaws and limitations. The greatest flaw of this method is that this method rests mainly upon analogy instead upon real similarity in essentials and at the same time applies biological laws to the development of state life as if the state were in essence no different from an organism.

This method fails to see that the resemblance between the body politic and the human organism is at best only superficial. It fails to realise that the laws of growth and change which govern the one are incapable of applicability to the growth and development of the other.

There is nothing to be gained by dwelling upon analogy. Professor Giddings has very aptly remarked in this connection. The attempts to construct a science of society by means of biological analogies have been abandoned by all serious investigators of social phenomena.”

(9) Psychological Method:

This is one of the most modern methods of dealing with political phenomena. This method has been very recently been employed by a number of writer who have attempted to explain political phenomena through psychological laws; Adopting this method, apolitical investigation attempts to study and analyse political activity through the laws of psychology.

While framing the laws, the state pays due attention to the possible reaction of the public. Likewise the government also gives due consideration to the public reaction against the reforms brought about by the government.

But we should keep in mind that like other methods this method is also not free from flaws. The psychological approach to political phenomena is only one-sided. Therefore, this method should be employed with a great care.

(10) The Juridical Method:

The most favourite method of studying political phenomena among German political writers, is Juridical Method. This method aims at determining the contents of the rules of public law and deducting therefrom the conclusions to which they lead. It is the method which is much favoured by the analytical jurists.

It regards the state as a legal personality or a juridical person and views Political Science as a science of legal norms having nothing in common with the science of the state as a social organism. It regards organised society, not as a social or political phenomena, but a purely juridical regime, an ‘ensemble’ of public law, rights and obligations, founded on a system of pure logic and reason.

But we should keep in mind this fact that the state as an organism of growth and development cannot be properly understood without a due consideration to those extra-legal and social forces which lie at the back of the constitution. It is these forces which are responsible for many of its actions and reciprocal reactions. Thus, it is quite clear that this method which conceives the state merely as a legal personality or a public corporation is very narrow.

(11) The Sociological Method:

The Sociological Method regards the state as a social organism. Individuals are the component parts of the social organism. This method seeks to deduce the quality and attributes of the state from the quality and attributes of men composing it.

This method is becoming very popular these days. The increasing popularity of this method has-led to the birth of a new subject known as Political Sociology.


As a matter of fact the scope of Political Science is so wide that it will not suffice to choose any one of the methods mentioned above. In order to cover the wide scope of Political Science, we have to seek the assistance of almost all the methods. Historical and Philosophical methods are not contrary to each other.

On the contrary, they are complementary to each other. Professor Gilchrist has rightly remarked, “The genuine historian must recognise the value of philosophy and the true philosopher must equally take the counsel of history. The experiences and phenomena of history must be illuminated with the light of ideas. The best method thus arises out of the blending of the philosophical and the historical methods. Aristotle and Burke are able exponents of this Method”.

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