How Far Is Political Science Really A Science

Having explained the limitations of Political Science as a science, viz., low level of its generalisations, lack of law-like formulation of its phenomena, difficulty of verifiability or reliability of experiment, etc., yet we cannot deny the fact that Political Science is a science and is becoming more so due to recent developments in science and technology.

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First of all, Political Science has a systematic method of study. It is a method which is common to all other sciences, especially to the social sciences. It consists of the following stages:

(i) Collection of data by observation or experimental methods;

(ii) Generalisation and explanation of the facts thus collected;

(iii) The generalisation is treated as a hypothesis;

(iv) Verifications of die hypothesis;

(v) If the hypothesis it then becomes a theory; or theory1 is confirmed as valid by further study (observation or experiment), it becomes a law or a law-like generalisation;

(vi) A hypothesis may be repeated by other political scientists to confirm or disprove it by their own observation, or study,

(vii) If it holds in all subsequent verifications or replications, it becomes a theory.

Every theory or law is always on test. It has to prove itself by new facts or data. If disproved by any new fact or data, it will be (i) either discarded, or (ii) again reduced to the level of a hypothesis requiring further examination. That is to say, it will be subjected to further observation or experiment. If disproved by new facts, as being invalid, it will be discarded. In other words, every theory or Statement in Political Science is held cm trust: it-will have to prove itself to new facts of political life at any time in die future. This is the dynamic nature of Political Science.

Moreover, its “laws” are of a descriptive nature.. They enable us to undertake further research. For instance, it is a “law” that State is interdependent with society, and society with environment, human and physical. Though it cannot be regarded as a scientific law, yet it will greatly’influence the research tactics of a political scientist This is to be emphasised in view of the fact that some political thinkers believed the State and society to be absolutely different phenomena and that a particular kind of State can exist in any kind of society and at any time.

Or take another example. In the United Kingdom, the existence of the two-party system, e.g. of the Conservative and Labour Parties, depends upon the practice of single-member constituencies with plurality votes, i.e. on an electoral system in which one candidate in a constituency is declared successful who secures the largest number of votes among two or more candidates. Now it can be safely predicted that if this electoral practice is changed, the British two-party system will cease to exist, because a multi¬party system will arise in that country.

Similarly, it is possible to predict when a revolution will occur in a country, if we study its political, social, economic and other conditions closely. Examples show us that Political Science can develop the “art of political prediction”, provided we narrow down the possibilities, arrange than into more important and effective and less important and weak possibilities. Prediction can be made on the basis of the more powerful and important possibilities, ordinarily called determinant variables or causes. “The art (of political study) can be, and is being, made more ‘scientific’ by improving our strictness and clarity in specifying possibilities and our resources in measuring degrees of probability.

 

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