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SCIENCE OF POLITICS.
NATURE AND LIMITS OF THE SCIENCE OF POLITICS.
THE progress of the strictly physical sciences in modern times has had a two-fold influence on the advancement of those branches of knowledge which deal less with physical than with moral, social, and political facts. On the one hand, the exact methods and indisputable conclusions of the sciences concerned with matter have inaugurated modes of study and enquiry which are believed to be of universal application. On the other hand, the standard of rigorous logic in all studies is so far exalted that those subjects of thought or investigation which do not conform to identically the same standard as that maintained for the study of matter are thought to be not worth pursuing with any regard to the claims of a severe logical process. This sort of antipathy between the physical and the ethical regions of search and argument has been intensified by the coexistence of two opposed orders of minds, the ardently speculative and the persistently practical. The former
are discontented with the notion of a so-called Science of Politics because of the complexity of the subjectmatter, and the intrusion, at all points, of such seemingly incalculable factors as the will and passions of mankind. Practical statesmen, again, immersed in actual business, and oppressed by the ever-recurring presence of new emergencies, almost resent the notion of applying the comprehensive principles of science, and still more the conjectural use of foresight, in respect of subjects which, for them, are in ceaseless flux, and can, at best, only be safely and wisely handled by momentarily adjusted contrivances.
Between these two extreme classes lies all the large portion of society composed of persons with minds less distinctly determined and trained in one direction or the other, and therefore all the more open to be impressed by influences derived from sound thinkers and energetic workers, but experiencing these influences only in a loose and diluted form. The aggregate result is that the subject of Politics floats in the public mind either as a mere field for ingenious chicane or as a boundless waste for the evolutions of scholastic phantasy. If Politics are to be vindicated from the aspersions cast upon them from the opposite quarters here indicated, and are ever to be erected into a science with its own appropriate methods and limitations, the foundation of these sceptical suspicions must be investigated and their real value strictly assessed. The investigation will proceed as follows.
1. One obvious class of objections to the possibility of applying rigorous scientific methods to Politics is founded on the number and nature of the component and preparatory studies which are presupposed in