The Methodological Foundation. Is there such a thing as progress in political science? Do we know more than the Ancients?. Methodological Progress. Personal computers (1981) Sophisticated software for both quantitative (SPSS) and qualitative (NUD.IST, QUALRUS) analysis. The Internet
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Do we know more than the Ancients?
According to him, we need some equality of conditions to achieve freedom and friendship between the people:
“a city ought to be composed, as far as possible, of equals and similars; and these are generally the middle classes. Wherefore the city which is composed of middle-class citizens is necessarily best constituted in respect of the elements of which we say the fabric of the state naturally consists.” (308)
“The new science …should deal with actual as well as ideal forms of government and it should teach the art of governing and organizing states of any sort in any desired manner. This new general science of politics, therefore, was not only empirical and descriptive, but even in some respects independent of any ethical purpose, since a statesman might need to be expert in governing even a bad state.” George Sabine, p. 91
“All states and all dominions that have had and continue to have power over men were and still are either hereditary, in which instance the family of the prince has ruled for generations, or they are new. And the new ones are either completely new, as was Milan for Francesco Sforza, or they are like…
…members added to the hereditary state of the prince who acquires them, as is the Kingdom of Naples for the King of Spain. Dominions taken in this way are either used to living under a prince or are accustomed to being free; and they are gained either by the arms of others or by one’s own, either through Fortune or through cleverness.”
“Amongst the novel objects that attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of conditions.”
“The more I advanced in the study of American society, the more I perceived that the equality of conditions is the fundamental fact from which all others seem to be derived...”
“I then turned my thoughts to our own hemisphere, where I imagined that I discerned something analogous to the spectacle which the New World presented to me. I observed that the equality of conditions is daily progressing towards those extreme limits, which it seems to have reached in the United States... It is evident to all alike that a great democratic revolution is going on among us” (Introduction, p.3)
“If all the resources of science are not sufficient to enable us to calculate à priori, with complete precision, the mutual action of three bodies gravitating towards one another; it may be judged with what prospect of success we should endeavour to calculate the result of the conflicting tendencies which are acting in a thousand different directions and promoting a thousand different changes at a given instant in a given society:...
“...although we might and ought to be able, from the laws of human nature, to distinguish correctly enough the tendencies themselves, so far as they depend on causes accessible to our observation; and to determine the direction which each of them, if acting alone, would impress upon society, as well as, in a general way at least, to pronounce that some of these tendencies are more powerful than others.”
“The conclusion drawn as to the individual case can only be directly verified in that case; but it is verified indirectly by the verification of other conclusions, drawn in other individual cases from the same laws. (...) The test of the degree in which the science affords safe ground for predicting (and consequently for practically dealing with) what has not yet happened, is the degree in which it would have enabled us topredict what has actually occurred.”
Mill, Indirect Verification:
“The aim of practical politics is to surround any given society with the greatest possible number of circumstances of which the tendencies are beneficial, and to remove or counteract, as far as practicable, those of which the tendencies are injurious. A knowledge of the tendencies ...gives us to a considerable extent this power. It would, however, be an error to suppose that, even with respect to tendencies, we could arrive in this manner at any great number of propositions which will be true in all societies without exception.”
We can always aggregate data collected on a lower level of analysis, but we cannot disaggregate data collected on a higher level
Indicator (i.e. Question: “How much money do people in your household make every year?”)