Pithy Quotes about Political Science.


“Political science is governed by five myths: (1) that it studies politics; (2) that it is scientific; (3) that it is possible to study politics separated off from economics, sociology, psychology and history; (4) that the state in our democratic capitalist society is politically neutral, i.e. available as a set of institutions and mechanisms to whatever group wins the election; and (5) that political science, as a discipline, advances the cause of democracy.”ť

[Bertell Ollman, “What Is Political Science? What Should It Be?”, New Political Science, Volume 22, Number 4, 2000, pp. 553-562.]


“The political scientist, in so far as he wishes to remain a scientist, is limited to the study of techniques. A good deal of what is called political science, I must confess, seems, to me a device, invented by academic persons, avoiding that dangerous subject politics, without achieving science”  

[Alfred A.Cobban, In Search of Humanity: The Role of the Enlightenment in Modern History. (New York: G. Braziller, 1960), p. 240.]


“Apart from economics and geography, it is hard to find a social science that has given less attention to religion than political science.” 

[Kenneth D. Wald, Clyde Wilcox, “Getting Religion: Has Political Science Rediscovered the Faith Factor?”, American Political Science Review, November 2006 Vol. 100, No. 4, pp. 523-9.] 


Beyond a stark minimum, subject matter expertise in world politics translates less into forecasting accuracy than it does into overconfidence….”

[Philip E. Tetlock, Expert Political Judgment, Princeton U. Press, 2005, p. 161.]


“I was a political science major.”  Harry Shearer


“A young man is not an appropriate hearer of lectures on political science….”  Aristotle, in N. Ethics


If you are interested in a detailed treatment of the evolution of the discipline of political science, see the articles in the Centennial issue of the American Political Science Review, special issue of November 2006.



UUTF-8PYtext/html (7Ig~”»LRS ]