Political philosophy


As the philosophy a very broad discipline, it is not surprising that the policy has captured interest from time Greeks . Next, we will speak a few words on this topic.


What is political philosophy?

Political  philosophy is that branch of philosophy aimed at studying and working on the foundations or bases of power and everything related to politics . It focuses its attention on power relations, freedom , the right to property, and other topics that are generally of interest to the political scientist .

  • What is political philosophy?
  • What does political philosophy study
  • features
  • History
  • What is political philosophy for?
  • Fundamentals
  • Topics
  • Authors
  • Books
  • How it differs from political science
  • Importance of political philosophy
  • Examples

What is political philosophy?

Political philosophy is the branch of philosophy that focuses its point of interest on the foundations or bases of power and politics . Topics such as freedom , laws , equality, the relationships that human beings establish with society. In the loosest sense, it tries to understand how the individual’s political behavior should be in their social context , and how the latter should treat the individual.


What does political philosophy study

Among its objects of study to highlight, we have the following:

  • Government and governance.
  • Politics.
  • Laws.
  • Liberty.
  • Equality.
  • Justice.
  • Property.
  • Straight.
  • Power relationships.
  • The penal code and its potential applications.


It is a branch of philosophy that puts the relationships between the individual and society in the foreground. These relations are, by force and from this perspective, relations of power.

Some authors do not consider this to be a technical branch of philosophy, since they also frame it in the context of politics as one that “solves problems through dialogue . ” This would imply that political philosophy responds to the need to give a philosophical foundation to this dialogue between parties in conflict.

It is a discipline in close contact with the philosophy of law and economics . In the same way, it has a specifically ethical sense. The latter means that their concern lies in how the phenomena or political actions carried out in a society should be.

Political philosophy is usually subject to the historical conditions of the moment. While in ancient times, political concerns were based on the city and its differentiation from barbarism, in medieval times the matter was more related to the relationships between man and God.


Political thought is, as said, an inheritor of the historical conditions that have been lived up to now. At first, the first Western philosophers concerned with political development were the triad Socrates , Plato, and Aristotle. These thinkers placed the Polis as the center of civilization, much at the discrepancy of their barbarian neighbors . This modality evolved with the arrival of Christianity and the Middle Ages. Already in these times, the interest of the political was diverted towards the dialectical relations between man and the order imposed by Godin the holy scriptures. It is noteworthy that this perspective was maintained for many centuries until the turn of the Renaissance . The change that this last period marked was that of a society where Man would be fundamental, and that all political actions should be aimed at guaranteeing the privileges of humanity , above the divine.

Already with contemporaneity, political philosophy runs into ” unprecedented ” events such as the arrival of the totalitarianisms of the 20th century and the new conditions of production and industry that occurred with the Industrial Revolution Marxism , capitalism).

What is political philosophy for?

Every politician or specialist in developing politics guides their actions, in large part, following an ethical system that determines what is right or wrong . This ethical system, usually, is embedded within his personal political philosophy or the party of affiliation. Its usefulness is, therefore, in opening the questions and the space for debate to talk about how these power relations should be.


One could say that the main foundations of political philosophy are:

  • The common good.
  • The legal order.
  • The support of the rule of law.
  • Elements and activities of the Modern State.


With the passage of time, the topics of interest of the political philosopher change over the years. Today, some of the topics of greatest interest in this area are:

  • The Communism vs Capitalism
  • The rights of LGBTI people.
  • Totalitarianisms vs democracies.
  • Colonialism and its effects on the development of underdeveloped countries.
  • Social justice and its effects on people.
  • The role of social networks in the well-being of the individual and the group.


Some of the authors that we can highlight the most from this branch of philosophy are:

  • Aristotle.
  • Saint Thomas of Aquino.
  • Confucius .
  • John Dewey.
  • Michael Foucault.
  • Jürgen Habermas.
  • Thomas Hobbes.
  • David Hume.
  • Thomas Jefferson.
  • Nicholas Machiavelli.
  • Herbert Marcuse.
  • Karl Marx.
  • John Locke .
  • Montesquieu.
  • Plato.
  • Ayn Rand.


  • Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes.
  • Politics, by Aristotle.
  • The Prince, by Nicolás Machiavelli.
  • Capital, by Karl Marx.
  • The Republic, by Plato.
  • The Social Contract, by Jean Jacques Rousseau.
  • Utopia , by Thomas Moro.

How it differs from political science

Although they can be confused, there are significant discrepancies between the two disciplines . While political science studies power and its relationships as it was, is, and possibly will be, political philosophy has a more ethical interest. More specifically, the political philosopher is interested in how a society should be and its relations with the individual man. While the first studies the being of politics, the second studies the ought to be of politics.

Importance of political philosophy

As was discussed in utility, political philosophy operates as a compass that helps us to think and understand power in the ethical and moral sense of it. It is about seeing, from a more philosophical point of view, the meaning of the events and phenomena of power. Provides a guide to political scientists to help them not only see, but also rethink their concepts so far studied.


An example of political philosophy, or one of the best known at least, is the political thought of Karl Marx. Starting from his observations of the material conditions of the working class of his time, Marx tried to offer a political model that not only responded to the needs of his time, but also sought to give a twist to what was then understood by government and society . It was a model that put the proletariat first.

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