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Understanding Politics

Theory, Procedures, Narratives


Tadeusz Klementewicz

This book analyses how contemporary political science can develop as a structure of knowledge gathered by the individual sub-disciplines of political studies, as well as the remaining disciplines of social sciences. It helps to get a fuller understanding of political phenomena and to reconstruct the process of emergence of the global civilisation. The author reflects about the current state of research conducted by political scientists. The research is conducted within a few major research paradigms. This work presents a strategy of integrating knowledge about man and society.

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Chapter 6: Practical and Prognostic Functions of Political Science – Methods and Problems of Predicting the Trends of Political Life


Chapter 6

Practical and Prognostic Functions of Political Science – Methods and Problems of Predicting the Trends of Political Life

In the history of reflection on politics, we encounter a paradox. Those researchers who engaged in it, from Aristotle onwards, perceived it as a practical science. Yet, the science of politics has a practical function only indirectly and even then, to a modest degree.

A political scientist disguised as a philosopher did not rival an astrologer. When in a situation of risk, even without any council, a politician would still have to decide to take some steps. Political actions are as a rule undertaken in new historical situations, in which the existing historical experience fails. How should one, for example, make use of the si vis pacem, para bellum maxim, when the opponent has nuclear weapons at hand? A political scientist, therefore, more often than not, merely comforts a politician that he has done everything possible to achieve the desired goal. To think that it could be different is wishful thinking. There is no conjugation between the explanatory and the predictive powers of humanistic knowledge.

A political scientist also cannot directly indicate what and how has to be done, since then he himself would turn into a politician. Thus, the practical value of political science lies elsewhere. It communicates an eminent, conscious reflection about politics and political life. By teaching how to gain sufficient knowledge of the world of politics, it can also...

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