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September 17, 2012- Approaches to studying politics.docx

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Queen's University
Political Studies
POLS 110
Jonathan W Rose

Approaches to studying politics  Politics: definition cannot be defined clearly; it is open to interpretation and discussion.  Politics can be thought of as the way things are or the way things should be.  Which of the competing approaches best explains the world.  Philosophical Tradition o Normative Questions interested in how things should be. o Dates back to Aristotle or Plato, who were interested in the “good life”. o Very broad, discussion about how resources should be allocated. o Assumptions that underlie our decisions. o Suggests that what politics is about is a continual conversation; answering the question what is the good life. o No right or wrong answers on normative questions. o Might be being ignorant of facts.  Empirical Tradition o Experience is basis of knowledge o Interested in how things are; how the world works. o Need data and research to prove ideas. o Useful for questions related to voting intentions, trade offs, economic
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