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#32226 - 11/25/09 02:45 AM Is Poltics a Science? (Essay)
Damis Offline
pledge


Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 60
Loc: England
For one of my recent assignments I elected to answer the question,

"Is politics a Science?"

I had 1,000 words in which to give a broad answer. I thought that it may be an interesting subject for discussion. So I decided to share my essay with everyone as a starting point. The essay itself was marked and given the grade of First Class.
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Is politics a science

The very definition of politics can be interpreted in a great number of ways, from a very broad sense of social interaction right down to a narrow view of national decisions, decided upon and taken by institutions, such as parliament. However the interpretation of politics that shall be used in this essay will be a broad one. Politics is, in brief, the interaction between two or more people concerning their needs and interests along with governmental issues and functions, the construction of legislation as well as physical conflicts and finally the acquisition and utilization of power,(the typical definition of power being the ability of A to force B to do something that B would not otherwise do). Science can be commonly defined as logical and methodical processes that can lead to new or better understandings of events (such as combustion) with a foundation in fact and evidence. Looking at politics, we can see that it is based upon social interaction and a dispute over observed facts, leading to processes of scrutiny, debate and decision and ultimately action, therefore we can see a striking similarity between the working of politics and the definition of science, building a good case for politics being indeed a science. However in order to see if this claim holds up to scrutiny, we must hold a scientific approach against a different one, in this case a philosophical one. By examining and comparing these two approaches, a sufficient amount of evidence should present itself, with which a judgment can be made upon as to whether politics is a science or not.

The scientific approach to the nature of politics often looks primarily at the whole general view of politics, including it's mechanisms and events, and attempts to determine why and how politics happens and how political occurrences develop. This is done through looking at the basic facts of the situation before performing a number of logical processes in order to obtain evidence that can then be scrutinized and evaluated before being used to make an educated judgment upon the causes or purpose of a given event. This style conforms of course to the methods of scientific investigation, where upon an investigation, is used in order to obtain evidence that can be used to explain events or prove predictions to be true or false. However it is best to bear in mind that there are many different points of focus within the scientific method, for example,
structured based investigations in contrast to agent based investigations (Leftwich,2004). Arguably the application of scientific method to politics yields substantial evidence to suggest that politics is part of the field of science since it could be argued that if politics was not a science, then the application of such methods would not result in popular consistent interpretations.

The philosophical approach takes a much more personal approach, often focusing instead on the moral and social implications of decisions and actions within politics, whilst retaining a constant link to the concept of human nature, however unlike the multiple focuses of the scientific approach, the philosophical line has many approaches to nature of politics within itself, however the most important distinction of philosophy from science, is the lack of belief in fact being the foundation for any process of investigation.

Political philosophy would seem to not see politics as a science. Science as defined before is a set of logical and methodical processes, that relies on facts and evidence, philosophy however in a nutshell works more on the premise that observation and reflection upon the observed events, is enough to draw up an accurate assumption of the workings of human nature and further on, politics. Here we can see that both philosophy and science work upon different foundations. If we take a political situation however, it starts of with the interests of people, the conflict that ensues creates a chain of events, be they debates, physical conflicts or what not, the end result is an altered state of circumstances. This is clear evidence of politics naturally following a scientific theory of contacting elements, a resulting reaction and an end result of an altered state.

It could be said that the intimate level of which philosophy attaches itself to politics, reflecting upon the moral implications such as the wrong and right, give us a deeper insight into events than the purely objective view of politics as a science and therefore a more reliable image of politics through reflection and intensive thought rather than some rigid scientific process. However this does not answer the questions valued as important; “how and why.” Practical results in contrast are therefore obtained through examining events as if it was a science, via the scientific approach. This produces more evidence to the case that politics is a science.

Science encompasses many fields, from hard science such as Physics to soft science such as sociology, also known as social sciences. The study of society inescapably includes the study and evaluation of human interaction and behaviour. Politics as described before Is the interaction between two or more people concerning their needs and interests. The element of social interaction is clearly present here, so it would not only be logical but also scientifically accurate to assume that this fact when held to scrutiny, reveals the foundations of politics as social interaction which is within the studied fields of sociology, which is of course a science. By relating politics to sociology, we can also evidently claim that politics is also a science. This evidence that ties politics to science therefore makes it difficult to attach any philosophical justification.

The conclusion to the comparative of these two methods, reveals staggering evidence in favour of politics being a science, the facts as they stand show politics to possess striking similarities to science, both in it's nature and in it's content. At the very modest level politics can be labeled as a branch of sociology, however the fact that politics can be such a broad subject serves to elevate it to it's own position as a field of science. The evidence presented by the philosophical approach is lacking at best, with assumptions and focus on segments of politics being the most consistent offering. Therefore it is clear that politics is in fact a science with little proof to suggest otherwise, at least in the course of the approaches used.
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Bibliography

Books referenced or used in initial research.


Chalmers, F., Alan (1999) What is this thing called Science? Buckingham: Open University Press.

Leftwich, Adrian, and Swift, Adam (2004) What is Politics?, Great Britain: Polity Press.
(Chapter 1 by Leftwich, Adrian and chapter 9 by Swift, Adam and edited by Lefwich, Adrian).

Wolff, Jonathan (2006) An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Revised Edition. Oxford: OUP.
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#32229 - 11/25/09 09:58 AM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Damis]
TheCusp Offline
Douchebag
stranger


Registered: 11/16/09
Posts: 14

A good paper for university context.

 Originally Posted By: Damis

The very definition of politics can be interpreted in a great number of ways


Everything can be interpreted in a number of ways. Different contexts provide unique frameworks for understanding, determining the way in which we can interact and influence those archetypal structures. A scientific method applied to politics can be beneficial under the right circumstances, but not always. Look at it the other way around, politics applied to science, and you end up with things like medical cures being suppressed because they are too effective and hurt profits.

If most interpretations are entirely dependent on circumstances to be relevant, than the views which apply under the most sets of circumstances is the most accurate description of what politics would be. To me, that would be sorcery.

Can anyone deny that politics is mostly about capturing and manipulating people's attention through archetypes for the purpose of exerting one's will? That's my definition of sorcery.

I'm painfully aware that my Canadian parliamentary system was created kind Edward the first to finance his war mongering. By giving the nobles the illusion that they had a say in what was going on, he was able to increase taxes without them revolting.
King Eddy also wanted dead body boiled, striped of the flesh, and his skeleton mounted and carried at the head of his army until the Scots were crushed. If you've ever given any though to the creation of power symbols, that would have been a damn good one had they gone through with it.

As a sorcerer, using those inferior limited viewpoints to justify your actions serves to fragment and limit people's perceptions. It's the moral of the Babel story.

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#32230 - 11/25/09 12:53 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: TheCusp]
Sonsosatan Offline
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Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Pacific Northwest
As a fellow Canadian I have to agree with that reference to our parliamentary system!

Indeed, if one were to swap the populations of the US and Canada, our esteemed Prime Minister would have all the powers of a King. The Canadian system of political governance does not have the checks and balances that the Presidency has.

Canadians seem to enjoy paying for a Senate that is nothing more than a social club of elites whose review of legislative matters is at best arbitrary!

Politics occur whenever resources are not available to everyone in equal shares. If there was nothing to gain, there would be no need to politic. Another thing the Romans have given us! (A blatant ode to Monty Python, sorry!)

Science was given to us by the Egyptians, to aid in the pursuit of eternal life. Record keeping and observation are somewhat exposed to politics, in that a politician would use the science in a way in which to further his politic or destroy the politic of another politician. But even the Egyptians held their scribes in a different class in their society, which it could be argued managed not to suffer the yolk of politicians since we do have great evidence of the scientific achievements over the course of many regimes of Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt.

But I digress; I merely wanted to acknowledge my esteemed fellow citizen and his mention of our political system here in Canada!

Eh.

Ave Satanas!
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"The death of fear is in doing what you fear to do."

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#32231 - 11/25/09 02:03 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Sonsosatan]
ballbreaker Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 134
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: Sonsosatan
Canadians seem to enjoy paying for a Senate that is nothing more than a social club of elites whose review of legislative matters is at best arbitrary!


I feel that this is a non-issue today. Most people have far greater priorities, even though if asked they would probably admit that Senators are the worst political parasites.

Unfortunately Senate reform isn't a big priority for any of the parties, just a minor talking point...maybe in today's minority climate the Cons and NDPers may include small steps towards senate reform so they can show their people that working with the enemy can achieve results.

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#32232 - 11/25/09 02:28 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Damis]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: Damis
The essay itself was marked and given the grade of First Class.

I would give it an "A" too. You nailed it.

Politics can also be broken down into "descriptive" (which lends itself to scientific analysis) and "prescriptive" (which doesn't, being philosophical or ideological). You drew the same distinctions, more eloquently, and avoided the minefield of MEGO subdefinitions.

Michael A. Aquino, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Political Science 1980-86
Golden Gate University, San Francisco

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#32273 - 11/26/09 01:54 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Damis]
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3138
Politics in my view cannot be seen as a science.
Why not? The answer is quite simple.
Politics interact partly on emotional level, i.e politics react on social emotions and feelings.
Science on the other hand reacts on evidence, facts and logic which are (or in reality should be) OBJECTIVE, emotionless.

I am steering here that Politics involves a certain degree of emotions and/or the impulse to react on emotional pulses comming from the social community. While it's actions should be made objective, they are founded on an emotional pulse. This is something that real science lacks, and should not be there at all.

Study of politics isn't a science also, it is but a certain evolution of the controlling society trough history.
The place of history (IMO) is a soft science and actually is more related to the likes of the study of art... with the meaning it being something "liquid", adaptable, unimportant to certain degrees.. it cannot be seen as a hard fact since it is easy to change.


Edited by Dimitri (11/26/09 01:55 PM)
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#32276 - 11/26/09 05:22 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Dimitri]
CJB Offline
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Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 125
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA
I would say that politics isn't a science, in the traditional sense, but at the same time (at least parts of) it can be approached scientifically.

It's like music. You have the technical side of music, which tells you "how" to make music, but there's also the aspect of music that asks the question "why." Why is this type of music more soothing than this kind, etc. That delves more into emotional aspects than the actual physical aspects of music (harmonizing, etc.)

A saying that comes to mind (I can't remember where I heard it from) is that any technology significantly advanced enough will appear as magic. As an addition to that...things that give an emotional response are, at times, called "magical." Perhaps these things which deal with emotions and such will one day be taken out of the "magic" field and placed firmly in "science." Whether that's a good thing or not depends on your perspective, I suppose...but the point is that right now a lot of philosophy, politics, music, etc., would normally not be considered science, but in the future perhaps we'll have a better understanding of the human mind, and they will be considered science.

A thousand years ago, the beginning of time was considered more theology as opposed to science...who can tell what will happen in another thousand? Perhaps future generations will look back at this time and wonder how we possibly survived for so long when we didn't understand the science of politics.
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#32280 - 11/26/09 07:07 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Dimitri]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: Dimitri
Politics in my view cannot be seen as a science ... Politics interact partly on emotional level, i.e politics react on social emotions and feelings.
Science on the other hand reacts on evidence, facts and logic which are (or in reality should be) OBJECTIVE, emotionless.

Human emotions and behavior are both predictable and programmable, the more so as the size of the target audience increases. This is what you might call "PSYOP #101"; Isaac Asimov raised it to a statistically-conclusive level as the "psychohistory" of his Foundation trilogy.

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Michael A. Aquino

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#32305 - 11/27/09 05:17 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: MawhrinSkel
The Foundation trilogy was an awesome read. Asimov was, by his own account, a good narrator but a bad author. I can't help but agree. The distinction is sometimes difficult to see, but for a genius like ol' Isaac to write science fiction of such magnitude was a blessing if ever there was one. To expound: Asimov could out-narrate pretty much everyone in the game, but the way his books are written seems almost haphazard, like he wants to tell *everything* at once. A brilliant analyst of both futuristic science and the intricacies of human behaviour, his stories mostly suffered from his inability to mold them according to traditional literary genre requirements.

I was still a teenager when I gobbled the Trilogy, along with I, Robot. George Lucas borrowed Trantor and the First Foundation for his Death Star & Rebel Alliance [along with Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jeddaks for his Jedi], so I borrowed the positronic brain for my Dark Side. The Trilogy was such a nice package that I rather hoped Isaac wouldn't mess with it further, but of course he did, so I wrote this review:

 Quote:
Book Review:
Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov
- by Michael A. Aquino VI°
Scroll of Set, October 1983

In the Iliad Homer relates the story of how Paris, son of the king of Troy and the goddess Artemis, was called before the three other principal goddesses Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena to decide which one of them was the most beautiful. Each offered him a bribe: Hera (queen of the gods) political power & statesmanship, Aphrodite (goddess of love) the most beautiful woman in the world, and Athena (goddess of wisdom) unsurpassed wisdom & knowledge. Paris chose Aphrodite and was rewarded with Helen, but of course he was also rewarded with the displeasure of Hera and Athena, which resulted in the Trojan War.

In his fourth Foundation novel Isaac Asimov has retold this tale so skillfully that I doubt many [if any] readers will recognize its ancient heritage. The role of Hera is played by the First Foundation, bastion of political and military power in the galaxy. The Second Foundation [of psychohistorians ... which is about as close as a good “hard scientist” like Asimov will come to philosophers!] is the new Athena, championing the cause of a Platonic philosopher-king culture for the galaxy.

The third goddess appears in the semblance of a mystery planet named “Gaia”, the primeval Hellenic mother-Earth goddess. By this slight divergence from the Paris-legend, one presumes, Asimov endeavors to alter the choice to one between power, wisdom, and what one might call “compassionate humanity” (a sort of pastoral empathy with life throughout the galaxy).

Since Asimov devotes the first 3/4 of the book to showing the inadequacies and dangers inherent in the First and Second Foundations, it is not altogether surprising which “goddess” his new Paris will choose. Foundation’s Edge ends on an appropriately “Bliss”-ful note, as Foundations #1 and #2, their memories wiped clean of conflict by Gaia, return to their parochial concerns in re-civilizing the galaxy.

What makes Foundation’s Edge something more than a space-age Iliad, however, is the cosmology which sneaks in at the end. I am always intrigued with scientists’ approaches to the great questions of metaphysics - not because they have answers [they usually shy away from “blighting” their “scientific” (meaning “respectable materialistic”) reputations], but because they have at least seen through and dispensed with the religious foolishness of imprecise and uneducated minds. Having taken his two Foundations to the theoretical limits of human power, Asimov finds himself up against the question of the essence of humanity: What makes it unique, hence deserving of a special place amidst the life-forms of the Universe?

Gaia is not his answer, for Gaia proves to be the evolutionary construct of hyper-advanced robots [thereby neatly bridging the Foundation series with I, Robot and its successors]. It is no good to say that man is special because the First Law of Robotics (invented by man) says that he’s special. The “benevolent humanitarianism” which Gaia offers the galaxy is thus the First Law extended to human beings themselves. Nothing wrong with this, but it falls short of the “human essence” question.

It is apparent that Asimov himself senses this, as he concludes Foundation’s Edge with a hint that his “Paris” is now determined to search for the original Earth (which has been misplaced & forgotten amidst all the ruckus of the Galactic Empire). “Paris” suspects that an even more mysterious power has deliberately concealed Earth from Gaia, which concealed itself from the Second Foundation, which concealed itself from the First Foundation, which concealed itself from the Galactic Empire ... If nothing else, the Foundation series is a gold-mine for conspiracy theorists!

Isaac Asimov, who could be excused for being a bit grumpy when George Lucas used big chunks of Foundation for Star Wars (the decaying Galactic Empire and the metallic Death Star/”Trantor”), must now be accused of nibbling from Battlestar Galactica, whose central theme involved a quest for the lost planet Earth. But the really important point is that no matter how far forward mankind advances technically and intellectually, the answer to the greatest and most important question is presumably to be found in its past, i.e. what it is, where it came from, and why it is significant.

There is probably no author with more appreciation for the scope and consequence of civilization and scientific achievement than Isaac Asimov, whose 260 books might as well be named the Encyclopædia Galactica themselves. Having stretched his mind to the limits of materialistic knowledge, he is now turning cautiously but perceptibly towards a quest for Atlantis, so to speak, and the mystery of humanity’s origin.

What will he “find” in the next Foundation book? The last major science-fiction author to tackle this problem, Arthur C. Clarke in Childhood’s End and later 2001, took the convenient escape-route of a “Chariots of the Gods” origin, i.e. “ancient astronauts” who generated mankind as an experiment. This of course just adds another “step back” to Atlantis: Who made the “ancient astronauts”, etc.?

Asimov has his own version of the “ancient astronauts”, being “the Eternals”, and accordingly it’s difficult to see how he can avoid his next Foundation book from drifting into the orbit of Childhood’s End.

It is great fun speculating on how much of all this represents Isaac Asimov’s actual beliefs/conclusions, and how much he would disavow [with his hand on a copy of Asimov’s Guide to the Bible]. He can always dodge it as “science fiction”, but of course the metaphysical questions it poses are still real. If Asimov should “seriously” deny his carefully-developed Foundation hypothesis, what would he proffer in its place? There is, I suppose, always Asimov’s Annotated Paradise Lost.

Upon which Isaac wrote me:

 Originally Posted By: Isaac Asimov 11/18/83
Dear Michael,

Thank you for your review of Foundation’s Edge. It was certainly not my conscious intention to model Trevize’s choice on that of Paris, but I have always been deeply immersed in Greek mythology and there might have been a certain unconscious modelling there. It is certainly an interesting idea.

Isaac
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Michael A. Aquino

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#32338 - 11/28/09 02:48 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: MawhrinSkel
... the point isn't to what degree history resembles science, but whether it satisfies the demands we place on a discipline to define it as science. History fulfils these requirements, and so can justly be labelled a science.

This doesn't mean we can use it accurately *today* to predict the future. Given a large enough timescale, we might, but I'm glad I don't sit on that particular research project. My brain might melt.

I got into a lot of trouble in my 1976-80 doctoral studies at UCSB by maintaining that Political Science is in fact a science: that its analyses, hypotheses, theories, laws should be subject to testing and validation by the accuracy of forecasting relying upon them. [If you like, Isaac's "Psychohistory" made real as true "Political Science".]

Otherwise, I said, what passes for PS is actually History with a more current-affairs orientation.

In keeping with this interest, I was at the time an academic-level member of the World Future Society, enthusiastically gobbling its own & other-published literature in the field of political forecasting. Also drenched myself in the work of the Hudson Institute.

When it was time for my dissertation, I proposed to "do it": to take all of these techniques - cross-matrices, trend-extrapolation, Kondratieff Cycles [the CIA turned me on to that one], etc. - to do a 25-year forecast of West Germany. The more research I did, the more drafts I produced, the more nervous my faculty committee became. Finally the chairman summoned me to his office, said, "PS isn't a science, so you can't do a dissertation assuming that it is. Burn it and do a nice, proper historical-analysis one." So that's why I did The Neutron Bomb instead.

But I still thought I was right, and proved it in 1987 when I was a student at ICAF. Among the assigned research projects was one in regional studies, so I took on East Germany, dusted off all the same tools, and produced a forecast that said:

(1) There is no possible way the Warsaw Pact is going to attack Western Europe. The WP countries and their economies are too tightly tied to the NATO counties already, and it is their economies which are propping up that of the USSR, whose Reagan-era military buildup would otherwise be impossible.

(2) The economic strain is quickly overcoming ideological constraints. Very soon East Germany is going to break free of the USSR because Moscow is increasingly unable to disturb that economic relationship.

ICAF blessed the paper, and two years later it all happened. Here's to you, Hari Seldon!
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Michael A. Aquino

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#32354 - 11/28/09 10:28 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: MawhrinSkel
If you have any links you would like to suggest, I'd be keen to hear about them.

At the moment, concerning Kondratieff, just the site I linked above, though when I just Googled the term, I got 175,000 hits!

The CIA aspect was amusing. I called Langley, said I was doing graduate work in political forecasting, and asked if the Agency had anything helpful. About a month later, in a registered/sealed envelope from some person in Virginia, came an extensive CIA report on K. The next time I visited the Agency, I asked to see that person to thank him. I was told it was a fake name & fake address just used for clandestine return-address purposes. Woo!

 Quote:
I would like to read your thesis.

As noted, my original draft dissertation was discarded; its replacement, The Neutron Bomb, is at the link above.
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Michael A. Aquino

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#32368 - 11/29/09 06:01 AM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3138
Euhm Maw; maybe you should adress that to Michael.
The only thing I stated was that politics interact on social level while science is only the investigation of facts and occuring events in nature.

I don't know where you or Michael came up with the assumption that I believed human emotions or behaviour cannot be predicted.
Even so, I would find it quite short-sighted if someone claimed so. Psychology is sometimes still seen as a science-branch (a soft one that is).


Edited by Dimitri (11/29/09 06:04 AM)
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#32461 - 12/01/09 11:34 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: MawhrinSkel
Not saying psychiatry is *good* science, but it *is* a science ...

Among other things, Anton and I shared a loathing of psychiatry/psychiatrists, as well as an admiration for Thomas Szasz, as you will note from the dedication page of the Satanic Rituals.
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#32478 - 12/02/09 08:59 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
MatthewJ1
Unregistered



Thanks for providing this link to Thomas Szasz Dr. Aquino. I have not heard of him before, but will study the material.

Also I did not know Dr. LaVey regarded Psychiatry and psychiatrists in such a negative way.

I tend to regard psychiatry as a rather frightening sort of "science".

It seems to me that one is handing a tremedous amount of power over to a sort of priest or priesthood of the human mind.

That priesthood seems to have the authority to classify and determine individuals and their minds and then prescribe and make plans for their correction.

I find that rather frightening.

I should read the material which you have provided first Dr. Aquino, but may I ask now: is my thinking outlined above the sorts of concerns which you and Dr. LaVey held?

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#32488 - 12/03/09 03:23 AM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: ]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
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 Originally Posted By: MatthewJ1
is my thinking outlined above the sorts of concerns which you and Dr. LaVey held?

I would say that Szasz is a pretty good reflection of our opinions about that field.
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#32540 - 12/04/09 07:53 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Room 101 Offline
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Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Scotland
I feel like the fat kid at the party in the sense that have arrived at the same point that everyone else has...all be it later.

In this instance, rather than the fact that “I am fat” being the general consensus, I would have to say that I agree with the comments regarding politics being a sort'a-science.

Before everyone gets aggravated/jubilant at my agreement, I would say that I only agree to a certain extent.

Politics is a pseudoscience. It has many of the factors that would define it as a true science, but lacks any of the factual definition that would define it as a science in my mind.

This comment is in agreement to MawhrinSkel comments regarding psychology. While I can see the parallel regarding science and psychology, I would draw a line in the comparison.

My definition of a science is “proven fact”. Psychology is neither here nor there, and I defy you to argue to the country.

The closest scientific field corresponding to politic is psychology, which is in its self regarded as a “soft science”. Ergo, politics is a soft science or less.

Bear in mind, that this is an interpretive issue, if you disagree...then feel free to do so.

The point is, FACTS, have little place here as nothing is definitive.
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#32583 - 12/06/09 12:30 PM Re: Is Poltics a Science? (Essay) [Re: Room 101]
CJB Offline
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Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 125
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA
Hmm...thinking while typing here, so this may turn out a bit sloppy. I'll try to fix it as I go.

Science itself isn't ever really "proven fact" (...and no, I'm not just trying to be a dick or argumentative). We're discovering new things that change the definition of past "facts" at a pretty steady pace, and even some of the things that have been pretty much relegated to "fact" are still just very, very, very sound theories.

Drawing a parallel from a "hard" science to politics (actually, this is kind of a cross between politics of law, but the effects are the same) via the Scientific method (from Wikipedia, because I haven't seen the actual "list" form of the scientific method since the fifth grade or so)...

Keep in mind this is mostly just a made up, somewhat silly example...

1. Define the question.
At what temperature does water boil?
What should the punishment for rape be?

2. Gather information
My cookbook says 100 degrees Celsius!
This old holy book says castration!

3. For hypothesis
100 degrees Celsius it is!
Castration sounds like it would be fun!

4. Perform experiment and collect data.
Well, I boiled water several times, at several elevations. And sure enough, it boiled at 100 degrees Celsius exactly! Oddly enough though, when I pressurized the water, it boiled at a higher temperature...

(The following sentence is made up!) Well, historically, castration has served as a deterrent to keep people from raping again (for obvious reason), but doesn't keep them from committing other violent crimes, or act as a good deterrent to others. In a society that punished rapists with death, however, the number of rape cases went down. Let's try that!
(After five years of punishing rapists with the death penalty in one city/state/province, and punishing with castration in another city/state/province) Rape has gone down quite a bit in the death penalty state, but not so much in the castration state.

5. Analyze data
At sea level with 1 atm, water boils at 100 Celsius. Increase the pressure, water boils at a higher temperature. Decrease the pressure, water boils at a lower temperature.

Death has better results as a punishment for rape than castration does

6. Interperet data
...(tedious process that involvs the creation of a formula for boiling water using temperature and pressure)
...OK, I think I might have done five and six at once for this one.

7. Publish results
I published my water boiling formula dependant on pressure and temperature in a scientific journal!
I published my death to rapists idea in a political rag!

8. Retest
Another scientist later experimented and added to my findings that the boiling point of water at 1 atm is really 99.99997899568938299686894928 degrees Celsius, thus improving on the overall accuracy of my original formula.
Someone else found that 15 years of prison produces the same result as the death penalty, and the released rapists after 15 years, in more than 60% of the cases, go on to be model citizens, and in less than 5% of the cases, rape again. This may be acceptable to some communities, and not to others (in which case each community would have to do a cost-benefit analysis, etc. etc. etc.)



Edited by CJB (12/06/09 12:49 PM)
Edit Reason: Hit "submit" waaay too soon on accident.
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~~CJ
"To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
-Ayn Rand

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#32616 - 12/07/09 04:56 AM Re: Is Politics a Science? (Essay) [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
GillesdeRais Offline
member


Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 141
 Quote:
For those not in the know, "Mule" was a mutant, or something of an Antichrist figure, throwing the entire predictive matrix of psychohistory into flux, thereby rendering it ineffective.

Thanks, Hari Seldon ;\)
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#32626 - 12/07/09 03:06 PM Re: Is Politics a Science? (Essay) [Re: GillesdeRais]
CJB Offline
member


Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 125
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA
As I recall (and I haven't read Foundation in well over a decade, and I don't think I read all of it), the Mule was something of a psychic? He had some sort of mind control powers or something...

Hmmm...so politics is basically the "science" of how a society should be constructed, treat its citizens, etc. (vice "ethics" which is how an individual 'should' behave). In order to make the most sweeping general statements about how a society should be, one must assume that all persons living in said society are simliar enough to each other that the conditions of said political structure would be good for all of them (whatever your definition of "good" may be, in this case).

Similarly, psychohistory would be a science that would say "everybody falls under these particular specifications, and based on those specifications, this is pretty much what the future is going to be like."

In either case, psychohistory or politics, a single individual that falls outside of those specifications for whatever reason could muck around with the whole system. So in a collectivist political structure, where the plans of the state are laid out where it assumes everyone is a collectivist, one single individualist could screw the whole system up, if he has the will to.
I suppose the reverse would be true, but I would think on individualistic society would be composed of a smaller amount of people who generally wouldn't listen to any but the most charismatic and reasoned collectivist. But still possible.

...what does this have to do with politics being a science or not? Not too much, I suppose...except that I find myself in agreement with your infinite chess board comparison. Dragging the analogy out even further...(kicking and screaming, of course)...Before you can start playing infinite chess, you have to set up the infinite board, and I think we'd undergo heat death before that happens.
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~~CJ
"To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
-Ayn Rand

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