Conclusion: Toward a Practical Political Theory

Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)


Chapter 4 introduces some further methodological issues in the context of post-positivism. Research should place interpretive concerns at the center of social inquiry, not at nomothetic inquiry. Instead, we should look for explanations that are historical in character. A critical theory, however, views research as a reciprocal relation between participants and observers. It redefines the relations between experts and laymen. I discuss some attempts and criticisms of the participatory research model. It promotes reflection on the part of both inquirers and participants on the social situation they live and addresses conditions of domination and oppression. This requires rethinking the relation between experts and laymen. This perspective illuminates a recurring problem in the phronetic model. It tends to rely on the virtuoso capacities of the inquirer to intervene to solve crises, not collective action. The neo-Aristotelian model, in addition, is not sufficient to theorize the nature of intersubjectivity in modern societies.


Post-positivism Phronetic social science Critical theory Rational choice Experts Laymen 

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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RochesterUSA

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