Helsingin yliopisto - Helsingfors universitet - University of Helsinki ID 2009-233
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Social Science History
Lehmijoki, Lauri
Työn nimi-Arbetets titel-Title
Towards a balanced political theory: a study on science and metaphysics in the political theories of Oswald Spengler, Robert Oppenheimer and Karl Popper, and on analysing political theories
Political History
Työn laji-Arbetets art-Level
Master's thesis
Aika-Datum-Month and year
Sivumäärä-Sidantal- Number of pages
68 s.
The aim of this study is to contemplate the idea of a political theory that has a strong foundation both in metaphysics and science. In this study, I call such a theory a balanced political theory. With the help of the concept of balanced political theory, this study attempts to provide a framework for assessing political theories, such as political parties’ programmes and political ideologies. For example, if a party programme contains abstract notions like well-being, but it does not define the ways in which well-being can be observed, tested and falsified, it can be called unbalanced in the sense that it is strongly metaphysical but lacks foundation in science. With metaphysical notions I refer to subjective and normative statements that cannot be verified nor falsified with objective observations (hence the name “beyond physics”). With science, I mainly refer to attempts to verify or falsify a statement with methods that are agreed by most scholars and with observations. I use dialectic as the main method of argumentation. I read Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes as a thesis for metaphysical political theory. I also argue that Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies, as well as his ideas present in the book Conjectures and Refutations can be seen as the anti-thesis for metaphysical political theories. Popper’s theories can be read as scientifically oriented theories, in which metaphysics is largely neglected. Finally, I suggest that Robert Oppenheimer’s political thought in The Open Mind and in the Science and the Common Understanding can be interpreted as a synthesis of Spengler’s and Popper’s theories. Oppenheimer’s political thought emphasised both the scientific principles, such as modesty and the acknowledgment of uncertainty, and metaphysics. The result of this study is the framework for analysing political theories. The another result is that Robert Oppenheimer’s political thought is founded on metaphysical as well as on scientific principles. As a consequence, his political thought provides an example of a balanced political theory.
political philosophy islamism political crises political theory poliittinen filosofia islamismi poliittiset kriisit politiikan teoria
Säilytyspaikka-Förvaringsställe-Where deposited
Muita tietoja-Övriga uppgifter-Additional information