Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Political philosophy is the part of philosophy dealing with politics and government, that unstable mix of war and foedus (treaty), conflictual division, and authoritative union. As “philosophy,” it is part of the vita contemplativa , which is pure thinking; as “political,” it has to do with vita activa , which is action and praxis in a world that exists with its own rules and language games before any philosophical attempt is made to make that world the embodiment of a theory, as did Plato. Philosophy, like science, is about truth, whereas politics is about power or, in a more sophisticated view, the constrained use of social power that reintroduces truth into the possible constraints alongside rhetoric, persuasion, compromise, and negotiation. Vita activa may be viewed either as a part of the philosophical activity, the “theory of praxis ,” until philosophy disappears only to be “realized” in politics, itself bound to ...