Is politics a science or an art? - Politics | PoFo

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Is politics a science or an art?

much more science than art
much more of an art than science
Is politics a science or an art?

What makes a good election campaign - form or content?
Last edited by geb on 21 Jan 2012 17:41, edited 1 time in total.
It's an art, but you need to know how to paint before you can paint a painting.

Likewise, artists will tell you it's a science because they want respect, but art should never be taken at face value anyway. Beauty's in the eye of the beholder after all.
much more of an art than science

But like many arts, you can apply a methodology and achieve great success with those aspects of the art that are well established and understood.

Daktoria wrote:t's an art, but you need to know how to paint before you can paint a painting.

And you can paint by numbers.
Other: neither and both at the same time.

The way I see it, politics is a field of human knowledge. There can be political science, political art, political technology, political sports, political techniques, political philosophy, political engineering etc.

I like to divide human knowledge into modalities and fields. Fields of human knowledge are all areas of interest that can be studied/processed, like mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, history, politics, economics, medicine etc. Modalities are related to what you do with the knowledge: philosophy, science, technology, technique, engineering, art, sport etc.

For example, science is related to studying systems the way they are, and technology modifies it in order to generate new stuff. Physical science studies the physical world. Physical technology, on the other hand, creates new gears. Studying electrical fields and currents, how lightning works etc would be science. Developing diodes, transistors, televisions, computers etc would be part of technology. But once technology itself is developed, it will become part of the system studied by scientists. This cycle goes on and on. And it is basically what makes our society keep developing technologically.

Technique, on the other hand, is related to using the knowledge generated by science and/or technology. Normally technology, though. An electronics technician will use mostly transistors, resistors etc, not the power from lightning, for example.

Philosophy is difficult to define, because it is quite abstract. Philosophy is related to the study of systems too, but on a more basic level than science. Some people like to say that philosophers ask questions and scientists answer them. I'll define philosophy here as the use of rationality to question and discover why and how things work.

Now on topic. Basically, politics can come in any modality you want. There is political philosophy. A theorist debating ideologies, what is fair, what is the meaning of justice itself is analyzing political systems as a philosopher. The same theorist could analyze the technical aspects of political systems. Decide whether the parliament is working well or not. Decide whether a proportional representation system is better than a first-past-the-post system. Etc. That is political science. A constitution, legislation, courts of law, ministries, police forces etc are all examples of political technology: things invented by mankind and inserted into the system for better functioning. And if you have a police officer executing an arrest, for example, he is using the power granted to him by the legislation (the technology), so he is acting as a political technician. The same could be said of a campaign manager, working to get a politician elected. And the politician himself would be a technician as well.

Even political sports can exist. Running for office in a democratic election is sportive in many ways, for example. Sports don't have to be purely about physical effort. Chess is a sport. Starcraft is a sport. Mathematical olympics are a sport. Etc.

And politics can be quite artistic as well. There are lawyers and legal professors who spend years praising pieces of legislation as works of art, analyzing every aspect of them, even if the legislation itself has long been replaced. if you think this is not art, then maybe you should change your views a bit. Another example would be Euler's identity (but to math, not politics): Image. There is nothing more artistic as that. Mathematicians praise that equation's (unexplainable) perfection.

So basically, my view is that politics is neither science nor art, though both political science and political art can – and do – exist. Politics itself is defined as the field of human knowledge related to the flow of power in a social network, to power relations within and between human groups etc.
much more science than art
It's not a hard science like chemistry, biology, and physics, but it is a social science like sociology and economics. Having said that most of politics, which is local politics, has very little science behind it, but on the national level the science going on behind the scenes looks like the moon landing.

Think of it kind of like engineering. Almost any idiot can go out a design and build a small project without to much trouble, but try to use the same techniques on a very large project and it's sure to fail. That's why you need engineers, and that's why large political campaigns and groups need political scientist, which are real scientist.
I cant say much about the actual question, so i chose other

But as to the secondary question, about political campaigns, I am qualified to answer. I one of the main 3 officers on a victorious federal congressional race, handling volunteer recruitment and voter outreach, event staffing, precinct research, and planning of door-walking and phone banking.

Form is OVERWHELMINGLY more important than content for a congressional race, I can confidently state. Our volunteer organisation was more numerous and had better outreach to voter interest groups and households alike. Our candidate was calm and collected at debates, moreso than the other party candidates, and he was able to take the "high ground" by virtue of that fact, forcing the others to look worse by attacking him. The opposition also attempted a ill-advised smear campaign on shaky factual footing, which we swiftly turned around on them. It all built up our candidate's image in the eyes of voters without really focusing much on substance

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