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Political Theory:

This theory is a Critical, systematic reflection regarding power in its private and public forms, particularly regarding the claims of government to possess authority and legitimacy; and more generally, that reflection for the place of politics in common life. There is no usually accepted distinction between political philosophy and political theory, although two dissimilarities of emphasis may be mentioned. Firstly, political philosophers have developed and defended exact conceptions of human nature, before leaving on to explore the implications of their observation for political life; although political theory may be less determined and exploring what follows whether assumptions are made about such nature. Secondly, since political theory is eclectic, it illustrates upon the work not only of philosophers but also of social scientists and lawyers: mostly sociologists, psychologists and economists: and also obviously, political scientists. Its goals are to illustrate the political realm, to explore what is on stake in political practice and to clarify the values that motivate political action or that are affected through it.

One approach which is fulfillment for these ambitions is conceptual inquiry, aiming to explain the meaning and value-content of ideals through that political actor are guided, like equality, liberty and fraternity or terms of political debate and analysis as authority and power. A second approach has been the provision of models of behavior generated through a restricted set of suppositions and compared to experience. Exactly, there has been several emulation of the process of model building in economics and frequently the direct utilization of the assumption of self-interested behavior related with it. Consequently, for illustration democracy has been modeled like a market wherein party’s producers meet voters i.e. consumers. More usually, game theory has been applied to explore what ‘rational’ actors would perform in political contexts. Thirdly, reflecting its eclectic character, political theory has intended to synthesize the determining or insights of the some disciplines upon that it draws. For illustration, the political theory of property has attempted to embrace the philosophical, sociological, psychological, legal and economic parts of the social importance of property. Fourthly, there is the serious evaluation of the determining of political science, in exact a concern along with the methodology of inquiry that is informed through the philosophy of the social sciences. Fifthly, prescription may consequence from analysis of contemporary conditions: for illustration, arguments in favor of greater participation are related with a specific diagnosis of democratic malaise. Finally, there is a concern along with the exploration of political ideologies, mainly socialism, liberalism and conservatism. Since such exploration has a essential historical component, political philosophy and political theory are brought mutually to the point where many practitioners would deny such a helpful distinction may be made among them.

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Political Theory comprises four areas of study:

History of Political Ideas:

Systematic political thinking goes back to very old philosophy. Because antiquity, scholars have reflected on political concepts, actors and institutions. Such writings constitute the history of Political Science. The history of political concepts is, evidently, a historical field mostly. But, in Germany this is usually taught and researched, in the background of Political Theory. This gives an invaluable treasure of models, methods, concepts, difficulties and theories, motivating and enriching research in the whole discipline.

Political Philosophy:

This Philosophy is associated with how the world ought to be quite than with how the world is. Conversely, normative rather than empirical questions describe this area of study.

What political objectives is it reasonable and just to pursue? And what means may be legitimately utilized to pursue that reasonable and just goal? These are, in common terms, the central questions Political Philosophy tries to answer. They have been discussed through political philosophers from antiquity to modern times that are why a sound knowledge of the history of political consideration is indispensable for political theorists.

Though, this philosophy is not restricted to the justification and development of fundamental value standards and principles. This also comprises the analysis of central concepts, as liberty, justice and equality or politics, the state power democracy.

Since a practical discipline this is also involved with the exploration of the results of applying its central principles to exact issues, as: How must institutions for instant: rules of taxation or the national health system that be designed in order to be just? What are the normative inferences of technological progress, for illustration in the field of organ transplantation? What are the situations of a just war? At the similar time, feasibility matters and thus, empirical considerations play a main role in new Political Philosophy: How can institutions are made just and stable at the similar time? Under what condition can citizens are expected to follow just laws? Therefore, modern Political Philosophy is closely intertwined along with empirical Political Science and the other empirical sciences in common. Thus this philosophy understood is a prerequisite for normatively and empirically informed political consulting.

Positive Political Theory:

The task of Positive Political Theory which is sometimes instead labeled “Modern Political Theory” is to provide general theoretical tools for empirical political science. Thus, this is dedicated over all to the critical and development assessment of common approaches to theory-building as the “rational choice” approach that currently dominates empirical political science and analytical models as David Easton’s model of a “political system” or the actor models termed as “Homo sociologicus” and “Homo economicus”.

The intention of empirical political theories is to describe, predict or understand political phenomena. Hence, the above all goal of positive political theory is to offer theoretical foundations for the empirically-oriented branches of Political Science, as International Relations else Comparative Politics.

Epistemology (esp. the epistemology of Political Science)

Epistemology constitutes the Meta theoretical basis of all sciences. This is associated along with central questions as to what we can identify, how we can determine and how we can: if at all; prove as what we allegedly identify is true. Hence, the Philosophy of Science is associated with the scope and restrictions of knowledge and the methods of generating and testing assumed knowledge. Sincere research in Political Science presupposes fundamental knowledge of the central tenets and difficulties of the Philosophy of Science.

Therefore, the areas of study covered through Political Theory are interwoven along with the other branches of Political Science. Theory of Political discusses methods, offers concepts and theories and thereby gives the theoretical foundations of the whole discipline.

Characteristics of political theory:

This theory is an intellectual and ethical creation of man. Usually it is the speculation of a particular individual who is attempting to give us a theoretical explanation of the political reality that is the phenomena of the state. Each theory by its very nature is an explanation, make upon specific hypothesis that may be valid or not and that are always open to criticism. So what we discover in political theory is a number of attempts made through thinkers from Plato onwards to unravel the mysteries of political life of man. They have specified so many modes of explanations that may or may not convince us although to which we cannot pass any last judgment. Political theory is mainly an attempt to seek the truth like the philosopher sees it and it is typically expressed by a treatise as Republic of Plato, Politics of Aristotle, Hobbe’s Leviathan or Rawls' A Theory of Justice.

Secondly, political theory comprises an explanation of man, history and society. This probes the nature of society and man: how a society is made up and how this works; what are the significant elements; what are the basis of conflict in the society and how they can be solved.

Thirdly, political theory is well discipline based. This means that although the phenomena that the theorist seeks to clarify remains the similar that is the state, the writer may be a historian, philosopher, sociologist, theologian or an economist. Hence we are confronted through a variety of political theories, each illustrious by a discipline on that it is based.

Fourthly, political theory not merely comprehends and describes the social and political reality although is also actively engaged in hastening the process of history. The task of this theory is not simply to understand and describe but also to device manners and means to change the society. Since Laski put it, the task is not simply one of explanation of what it is but also a prescription of what ought to be. Hence this theory recommends agencies of action and also means of reform, revolution or conservation. It comprises programs that embody both means and ends. This theory plays a twice role: to know society and to suggest how to eliminate the imperfections.

And finally, this theory also comprises political ideology. Ideology in easy language means’s system of beliefs, ideals and values through which people permit themselves to be governed'. We discover a number of ideologies in the modern world as liberalism, socialism, Marxism. Each political theory from Plato to date reflects a distinct ideology of the writer. This theory in the form of political ideology comprises a system of political values, practices and institutions that a society has adopted as its perfect. For illustration, all political theories adopted through Western Europe and America have been dominated through liberalism and the theories accepted through China and erstwhile USSR were affected through a particular brand of Marxism. All brands of theory or ideology in this sense claim for itself the attributes of universality and compel others to admit it, leading to what is usually termed as 'ideological conflicts'.

Shortly, this theory is related with the explanation and evaluation of the political phenomena and such phenomena can be examined as a statement of ideals and ideas, as an agent of socio-economic change and also as an ideology.

Issues in political theory:

The nature of this theory can also be understood from the kind of matter it has been grappling along with during the long span of more than 2300 years. Various political matters have been dominant in various epochs. Typical political theory was primarily concerned along with the search for an ideal political order. As like it analyzed the basic matters of political theory as the nature and reasons of the state, origin of political authority, the difficulty of political obligation and political disobedience. This was more associated with what the state ought to be that is the ideal state. The ascending of modern nation-state and the industrial revolution gave birth to a modern kind of society, polity and economy. New political theory starts from individualism and created liberty of the particular as the basic matter. Thus it was associated with matter like justice, rights, liberty, property and equality for the individual, how to make a state based on particular consent and a right to change the government. Only one time, it also turned into significant to illustrate the interrelation between one concept and another as liberty and equality, liberty and justice, property and equality. The empirical political theory, mainly after the Second World War, shifted the emphasis from ideas to the political behavior of man. This invented a number new matter largely borrowed from the other social sciences. Several of the significant matter of empirical political theory was authority, elite, legitimacy, party, political system, group, political culture.

During the last 20 years, quite many different matters have come to dominate the scene of this theory. Along with the resurgence of value-based political theory, there is once again an emphasis on the matters of freedom, justice and equality. Separately from them, some modern matters have come to dominate the scene as feminism, ecology, environmentalism, community, matter concerning development, sub-alteranism and so on. These are the matters that have been engaging the attention of political theorists nowadays. Furthermore traditional picture of studying the matters from a particular perspective that is either from liberal or Marxist point of view is also varying. While the method was not wrong although today it is determined inadequate. To provide an illustration, both liberalism and Marxism have observed justice or freedom in the male dominated sphere of economy and government and avoided the freedom of the traditional female spheres of family and home. A sufficient theory of sexual equality will concern considerations which simply are not addressed in the traditional right or left debates. Likewise, communitarians have also uncovered the weakness of particular perspective approach. New political theory is trying to redefine the matters of liberty, justice and equality in the context of ultimate values of ordinary good.


The significance or importance of political theory can be derived from the reasons it serves or supposed to provide and the task performed through it. Well political theory is a type of all embracing system of values that a society adopts as its ideal along with a view to know the political actuality and, if necessary to change it. It concerns speculation at higher level regarding the nature of good life, the political institutions suitable for its realization, to what ending the state is directed and how this should be constituted to attain those ends. The importance of this theory lies in giving the moral criteria that ought to be utilized to judge the moral worth of a political state and to offer alternative political arrangements and practices likely to meet the ethical standards. The significance of this theory lies in giving:

i) An explanation of the political phenomena,
ii) A non-scientific that is based upon philosophy or religion, or a scientific that is based upon empirical studies explanation,
iii) Proposals for the selection of political objectives and political action and
iv) Moral judgment.

The importance of this theory lies in evolving different doctrines and approaches about the nature and reason of the state, the bases of political authority, vision of a perfect state, best form of government, relations among the state and the particular and basic matters as rights, liberty, and equality and so on. Again what has become significant in our times is to illustrate the inter-relation between one idea and the other as the relationship among liberty and equality, property and equality. Actually peace and harmony in the society vastly depends on how we interpret and implement the values of equality, liberty and justice and so on.

Contemporary states face a number of difficulties as poverty, over-population, corruption, racial and ethnic tensions, and environment pollution and so on, conflicts between individuals, groups and also nations. The chore of political theory is to analyze and study more profoundly than the other, the immediate and potential difficulties of political life of the society and to offer the practical politician along with an optional course of action, the consequences of that have been fully thought of. As per to David Held, the task of political theorist is actually demanding since in the absence of systematic study, there is a danger as politics will be left to the self-seeking and ignorant people who merely want to pursue this as power.

Shortly, the importance of political theory lies in the actuality that it gives systematic thinking regarding the nature and reasons of state and government. It assists us to establish a correlation among ideals and the socio-political phenomena. This makes the individual aware of his duties and rights in the society. It assists us to know the nature or the socio-economic system and its difficulties like poverty, corruption, violence, and ethnicity and so on. Because the task of political theory is not merely to explain and understand the social actuality but also to change this, this theory assists us to evolve ways and means to modify society either by reform or revolution. While political theory performs its function suitably, it is one of the most significant weapons of struggle for the advancement of humanity. 

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