• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This major new Handbook provides a definitive state-of-the-art review to political theory, past and present. It offers a complete guide to all the main areas and fields of political and philosophical inquiry today by the world's leading theorists. The Handbook is divided into five parts which together serve to illustrate: - the diversity of political theorizing - the substantive theories that provide an over-aching analysis of the nature/or justification of the state and political life - the political theories that have been either formulated or resurgent in recent years - the current state of the central debates within contemporary political theory - the history of western political thought and its interpretations - traditions in political thought outside a western perspective. The Handbook of Political Theory marks a benchmark publication at the cutting edge of its field. It is essential reading for all students and academics of political theory and political philosophy around the world.

Positive Political Theory
Positive political theory
H.Donald Forbes

Positive political theory, narrowly understood, means rational choice theory applied to the study of politics. More broadly understood, as it will be here, it can refer to a much wider array of analytic approaches and final goals. Its limits are set by two familiar contrasts: positive, or what is, is contrasted with normative, or what ought to be; and theory, in the sense of abstraction and explanation, is contrasted with detailed descriptions of particular cases.1

The aim of this chapter is to clarify what it can mean, in the academic study of politics, to give simplifying empirical analysis of some kind priority over plain description and explicit prescription. Three main kinds of positive theorizing will be distinguished, which will be ...

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