Science, Politics, and Gnosticism
Political science,politike episteme, was founded by Plato and Aristotle.
At stake in the spiritual confusion of the time was whether there could be fashioned an image of the right order of the soul and society—a paradigm, a model, an ideal—that could function for the citizens of the polis as had the paraenetic myth for the Homeric heroes. To be sure, fourth-century Athens afforded plenty of opinions about the right manner of living and the right order of society. But was it possible to show that one of the multitude of sceptic, hedonist, utilitarian, power-oriented, and partisan doxai was the true one? Or, if none of them could stand up to critical examination, could a new image of order be formed that would not also bear the marks of nonbinding, subjective opinion (doxa)? The science of political philosophy resulted from the efforts to find an answer to this question.
In its essentials the classical foundation of political science is still valid today. We shall outline briefly its subject matter, analytical method, and anthropological presuppositions.
As for the subject matter, it is nothing esoteric; rather, it lies not far from the questions of the day and is concerned with the truth of things that everyone talks about. What is happiness? How should a man live in order to be happy? What is virtue? What, especially, is the virtue of justice? How large a territory and a population are best for a society? What kind of education is best? What professions, and what form of government? All of these questions arise from the conditions of the existence of man in society. And the philosopher