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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The origins of the social sciences were in ideologies associated with moral philosophy and social reform movements. The turn to science was initially to secure the cognitive authority to speak truth to power about matters of social policy. This heritage was particularly salient in the controversy about behaviouralism in American political science. The debate between what was becoming mainstream political science and a growing number of individuals in the subfield of political theory was actually less about whether the discipline could emulate the methods of natural science than about an underlying conflict between competing visions of democracy. This was to some extent the residue of a dispute, which began in the 1920s, between pluralism as the basis of a theory of democracy and a more communitarian image, but it was also a reflection of more recent work in political philosophy as well as ideological differences in the American political context.

Keywords: ideology, political science, methods, behaviouralism, political theory, pluralism, democracy

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