E V E N Oxford, which more perhaps than any other place in the Englishin speaking world is the home of political theory or philosophy, it is often said that the subject is dead or sadly diminished in importance. I happen to have a professional interest in assuming that it is still alive, and as likely to remain so as any other subject as long as man continues to be a speculative and enterprising animal. I do not think I am biased; I do not think I need to be. The importance of the subject seems to me so obvious, and the reasons for questioning that importance so muddled, that I do not look upon myself as defending a lost or difficult cause. Political philosophy is dead, I have heard men say, killed by the logical positivists and their successors who have shown that many of the problems which exercised the great political thinkers of the past were spurious, resting on confusions of thought and the misuse of language. Apply the solvent of linguistic analysis to these pretentious systems, they say, and when the dross has melted away, little that is valuable remains. I think that this is
Political Studies – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1960
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