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By John G. Gunnell
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Extra info for Between philosophy and politics: the alienation of political theory
Norman Jacobson's ideas continue to echo in my work in many ways, and he taught me that, of all things, political theory is not immune from having to take account of itself. Although some may not think my disagreements with Sheldon Wolin are negligible, it should be obvious that I have rotated around his intellectual compass. since 1964, Paul Kress and I have been engaged in a constant conversation, and Gene Poschman has been a source of insight since the day he came upon me lost in the stacks looking for something called the Congressional Record.
Liberalism was construed in one way or another as decadent, as the historical threshold of fascism and nazism, and the facade of socially repressive forces. Science, scientific philosophy, and technology were conceived in similar manner, and social science was often understood as their most heinous manifestation. Science was the instrument of political oppression and the enemy of humanism. There were numerous other antithetical elements in these new themes in political theory, but maybe most important was the resurgence of what in the earlier years would have been called "speculative" political philosophy.
The question of the extent to which political theory had concerned itself with ethical issues was more moot, for many during this period would claim that it was precisely an excessive emphasis on such matters that was the problem. The behavioralist account of the decline of political theory also recognized a detachment of political theory from political reality. This account, which began to develop during this period, was also historically questionable, and its diagnosis and recommendations were significantly different from those of individuals such as Cobban.