What is political philosophy?

Political philosophy is a branch of Philosophy that studies, analyzes, deals with and investigates about issues that concern politics, as well as the relationships that arise; These issues are power, governance, the State, authority, rights, laws, the different forms of government, the scope of the State, the common welfare, social demand and the responses of governments.

Political philosophy, as an essential component of political science, addresses all these issues that are based on the social, in man (as a “political animal”, as defined by Aristotle), in how they originate and develop, in the limits that exist and in the essence of the human being in terms of his development as an individual and as part of a group Social.

When and where was political philosophy born?

Political philosophy, as it is studied today, It is the product of an evolution that has its origins in different places and at different times in history, since in each culture or civilization the birth of political philosophy was generated from dissimilar facts and responding to the need to reflect on the essence, conditions, causes and consequences of politics in each of these places where reached development and application levels.

For example, the first reference to political philosophy is from ancient China, whose beginnings took place during the period of the Springs and autumns, that is, towards the years 722 and 481 a. C., Confucius being its main author.


The Spring and Autumn period was marked by the decentralization of power, with its well-known battles and the results of these movements that were, among others, increased literacy, which led to freedom of thought
and other advances, including technology.

Besides Confucius, there were Ji Mèngke or Mencius and Mo Di or Mozi, as political philosophers, who focused on two basic essential factors of political philosophy: unity and stability.

proposed and supported a government on the basis of meritocracy, that is to say, a government made up of individuals who will achieve their promotion according to their aptitudes, abilities, knowledge, virtues, and not by their social origin; and that in turn was based on concepts such as loyalty, empathy and interpersonal relationships.

It also proposed that a good governance should have as a principle “charity, respect for hierarchies and justice”; and proposed that the Prince should be an example of a virtuous life, worthy of imitation, and, like Aristotle, defended the proposal that good government is to promote and foster harmony and universal peace.

In ancient Greece and Rome, political philosophy dates back to Plato (427-347 BC), when Greece was made up of city-states or polis, which were the political and citizen center, and which had different forms of organization politics.

Plato and Aristotle

According to Plato, city-states should be grouped into four categories: timocracy, tyranny, democracy and oligarchy, according to his own philosophy.

In India, political philosophy made a clear distinction between “nation and state” and “religion and state”, where the institutions that would be in charge of governance, defense, administration, law and order were located.

Contemporary political philosophy

Political philosophy is related to Political Science, which studies the political structures of the past and present. In this case, the role of political philosophy is analyze and discuss what these political structures should be like, considering aspects such as the present, society, the evolution of ideas, social demands and needs, common welfare and the ways to maintain and guarantee social tranquility.

This field of philosophy, as a science, it is rational and reflective, and has been used as a starting point to justify some political actions. As for example, the case of monarchical absolutism, as a form of government based on the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, who concluded that since man was evil by nature, he needed, therefore, “a strong government that limited his actions and prevented him natural bad behaviors ”; while the democratic systems were supported by the social contract of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Contemporary political philosophy It is represented by the reflection of people considered key in the in-depth discussion of current issues related to gender equality, the relationship between politics and ethics, psychoanalysis, the bonding and behavior of the individual in new societies, and even the individual’s commitment to the environment, among others.

What is political philosophy for?

Political philosophy serves to identify and recommend which political regimes serve the welfare and interests of society, of the masses, and which of the minorities, whether they are part of the government, are in power or take advantage of it for their benefit.

Furthermore, political philosophy provides guidance on which governments promote and protect citizens’ rights and which ones seek to restrict them; they also identify forms of governments and states that seek progress and which, on the contrary, hinder it.

Likewise, political philosophy, being above ideology, it offers reasons either for or against the different social orders,
among which there are behaviors that overlap, such as the uncontrolled freedom of the individual against oppression in a democratic system, due to the compromise of the social values ​​that predominate in both.

On the other hand, nowadays, faced with the innumerable crises of ideologies, of governance, of different policies, including Marxism, capitalism, social democracy, as well as the resurgence of the communist pole of Russia, China, and India and Iran as possible risks, the political philosophy has a relevant role, insofar as they could define the path towards the identification of political changes or of government structures that seek the common welfare.

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