Charles Zug: Can Political Science Become Diagnostic? Restoring a Forgotten Method

Charles Zug’s article “Can Political Science Become Diagnostic? Restoring a Forgotten Method” has been accepted for publication in Perspectives on Political Science.

Abstract: Political philosophers and their commentators frequently analogize human bodies and bodies politic, evaluating individual cities and empires in terms of health and sickness much the way a doctor would evaluate a patient. Today, however, the field of political science has all but renounced the task of which its ancient counterpart held itself worthy. Accordingly, many scholars have explained why political science, once prescriptive, gradually turned descriptive, concentrating above all on the turn to “value-free” social science. By contrast, the following paper examines the possibility of, and tries to sketch out, a diagnostic approach to politics, one that would restore to the study of politics its pre “value free” practical task: advising particular regimes on the basis of their particular political needs.