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Concepts of Societal Development

Only a few modern political philosophers, such as Hegel, have made attempts to place politics and its institutions in an encompassing metaphysical framework. Marxism's explanation of class conflict is another such example. Political philosophies of this type are typically anchored to a specific view of the nature of man, such as Bentham's utilitarian theory, or Aristotle's conception of nature as something consisting in the characteristic excellence of which it is capable.

The most notable developments in political philosophy typically occur at periods of history when political discord is highest (Chaissen, 1987, p. 11). The new developments, such as Marxist thought, are offered as cures for contemporary problems. Analytical philosophy challenges such developments on the grounds that philosophical inquiry is concerned with the conceptual nature of thinking, and, as such, cannot yield any new knowledge of facts, other than those related to the language used to describe known phenomena (Etzioni, 1968, p. 56). In this context, the analytical philosopher views political philosophy as a secondorder activity, that is (1) concerned with the concepts and methods of political science that cause it to be a branch of the philosophy of science, or (2) concerned with the concepts of po


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