Date of Award

1989

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

G. Ellis Sandoz

Abstract

It is the primary aim of this dissertation to draw attention to Voegelin's political philosophy and to place it at the center of the conduct of political inquiry, by criticizing positivistic political epistemology. Though scientism had become a dominant commitment, it does not provide an appropriate approach to political knowledge. Making reality dependent on methodology, it neglects important political existence, and fails to ask deeper questions about the truth-content political reality. However, there is an extra-spatio-temporal reality, that we can know, albeit imperfectly, and not discovered by the modern scientific methods. By means of the restoration and "retheoretization" of the classical Platonic and Aristotelian political philosophy, Voegelin attempts to provide an answer to the discredited positivistic world view of man, politics and history. Voegelin's political philosophy evaluates critically both the methods and the subject matter of political science, explores the human nature and the reality of human existence in society and history, comprehends the relations between knowledge and reality, penetrates the sources of the disorder of society, probes the limits of instrumental rationality, and establishes an ontological basis for political epistemology. The dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter One is a background study of the epistemological controversies of political inquiry. Chapter Two is an explication of Voegelin's critique of positivism and his redevelopment of the true meanings of science, theory, and philosophy. The third chapter clarifies the main theories of Voegelinian philosophy: political reality. To recount Voegelin's speculation of political reality, the theories of consciousness, representation, and history are examined. Chapter Four reviews Voegelin's account of modernity and gnosticism as a civilizational critique. Chapter Five gives some indication of Voegelin's general position in contemporary political science by appreciating the scope of his "new science of politics" in both critical and constructive dimensions. Voegelinian "philosophical science of politics" is a new, revolutionary way of political inquiry in that it proffers science in a new mode. It restores a radically new anthropology, i.e., theory of man as man. As a noetic science, it signals the abandonment of the sciences of the external world as the model of the science of man.

Pages

459

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