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The Promises of Comparative Politics

Democracy rules!; right? But if democracy really does "rule" what about it makes that the case? Is democracy really "better", or is it just a more effective refereeing system for societies that are in a constant state of organized competition or outright class warfare? Is there actually a "best" politics, or just better ways of controlling conflict? These are samples of the questions that students of comparative politics have been asking themselves for over a century, and also the topic of the following paper...


Comparison: Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx, Fukuyama, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Voegelin

"Much is made ado, in some circles at least, about the science of comparative politics as practiced in the modern era. On the one hand, it could be said that a true science of comparative politics is impossible, due to an inavailablity of objective, value-free measures against which to compare political societies. On the other, it may be argued that the flaw in the modern practice of comparative science is not found externally, in the lack of an objective measuring stick, but rather is found internally, in the philosophical frameworks developed by political scientists who concern themselves too much with facts that are both objective and value-free.

This paper will be used to express a position that is remenisient of the latter. In it, I will argue that the foundations of the perceived problem are not ontological or metaphysical in nature, but are rather the outcome of an epistemological difficulty created as a result of certain hardened conceptual models; the problem, in short, is not external to the scientist, but rather internal to the modernist thinker - and it is thus to that subject that we must turn our attention."

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