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.  Here is an international view from the late 1980s. 


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