This essay defends a broad, eclectic, and inclusive kind of political theory against methodological militants who would restrict political theory's permissible purview. It rejects the idea—frequently voiced by exponents of both analytic-philosophic and historicist methodologies—that philosophical and historical analyses are necessarily two separate enterprises that ought to be kept distinct, not just conceptually but as a matter of scholarly practice. Against the methodological militants, this essay explains the value of those forms of political theory that combine philosophy (the study of what should be done) with history (the study of what past authors thought about politics). It concludes by raising one further objection to the methodological militants: They fail to acknowledge the reality and importance of the “classic” work within the study of political thought.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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