By John G. Gunnell
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Additional info for Between philosophy and politics: the alienation of political theory
Although it is important not to exaggerate this role of political theory and raise it to cosmic proportions, political theory is at the very least implicated in the teaching of the teachers who contribute to molding political perceptions, and its impact on various dimensions of social knowledge is not without practical consequence. The critique of social science and political theory could, consequently, be construed in a limited way as a critique of politics, but there is less room for disputing that it is a critique of a structure of knowledge that has a significant relationship to politics, the university, and other social institutions.
Its basic goals and notions of science had defined the discipline from its inception, and in varying degrees of explicitness it was a defense of traditional liberalism and American institutions. In many respects the behavioral revolution was a theoretical oneapart from the fact that, with regard to its scientific goals, it did not accomplish in practice what it claimed in theory. Not only were most of the major spokesmen by training political theorists, but the subfield of political theory was where the revolutionary and antirevolutionary debates Page 19 largely took place.
American political science had been heavily influenced by German thought during its formative period in the late 1800s as well as during the first two decades of the twentieth century, and political science (and political theory) was in many respects Hegelian and Comtean in its early years. However, the general reaction against "speculative" philosophy that characterized the early 1900s had succeeded in thoroughly "Americanizing" these ideas both politically and philosophically. The world-historical visions of the third great wave of German influence were not easily assimilated in either style or substance.
Between philosophy and politics: the alienation of political theory by John G. Gunnell