Basic Concepts and Problems, Problems of Political PhilosophyJune 28, 2021
A political theory is a conceptual reflection on politics or any political-related issue. Political philosophy approaches its problems with conceptual explanations. In other words, a political theory aims to give a rational explanation of its basic concepts. The main problem area of political philosophy is the discussion about the foundations in politics.
The problem of finding foundations in philosophy is the discussion about the objectivity of the basic starting points, called first principles, as the final principles to be based on in justifications about knowledge, ethics or existence.
In other words, political theory is concerned with the grounding of political facts or institutions. This is the existential grounding of political phenomena or institutions. For instance, it is the job of political philosophy to justify the state, that is, to justify the existence of the state. Another example in this regard is the political debate on the validity of liberal democratic institutions (Magee 2004, p. 374). Political philosophy, then, is an information activity that philosophically investigates political problems, political phenomena and systems, and human political activities.
Political Philosophy is said to have two fundamental questions: “Who will have what rights?” and “Who will have the sovereignty?” questions are a useful starting point for Political Philosophy (Wolff 1996, p. 1). While the first question is about the distribution and basis of the rights and duties of the citizens, the second question is about the distribution of political sovereignty. These questions are actually questions arising from the basic problem of the existence of the state. So, the most fundamental problem of Political Philosophy is the problem of the existence of the state. Considering the fact that man is a being that engages in purposeful activities, the “what is it?” that philosophy asks for an informational and rational justification for any concept. the question “for what?” should be considered with the question.
For example, a Political Philosophy “What is the State?” As soon as he asks the question “What is the state for?” knows that it is the same question as the question. In another sense, political philosophy questions the purpose of establishing a whole created by human beings. Thus, he makes a conceptual and rational explanation of the state phenomenon that takes into account the purpose of the state’s existence. In doing so, it looks at the concept of “state” itself, not at individual states that have existed historically. In other words, it questions the concept in terms of expediency. By dealing with the rules and principles that regulate the state, society and social relations, political philosophy deals with what people do. Ethics is the discipline of philosophy that investigates the principles governing human actions. Therefore, it can be said that the subject and principles of political philosophy are closely related to the subjects and principles of ethics.
The fundamental question of political philosophy is one that precedes questions of how the state should be organized. This fundamental question concerns whether a state should exist. In other words, it is a question of whether the state should exist, and if it should, why should it exist. To put it in the language of philosophy, this question is “What is the State?” is the question.
“What?” is a structural question that asks about the object it deals with, what it is, what it is, and its essence. Philosophy questions, in this sense, are always questions that require research into what as a structure question.
The first important view about the state was expressed by Plato in the Ancient Age. According to him, the purpose of the state is not only to make a part of the society happy, but also to make the society as a whole happy. The condition for the state and society to be fair is that each of the parts that make up the society do their part in harmony. Plato’s thoughts also show the object of the study of political philosophy. Accordingly, political philosophy is to question the purpose and reason of existence of the state. It is to investigate the conditions necessary for a just society. Determining the necessary conditions for the well-being of the whole society constitutes the political view of Aristotle, another great thinker of the Ancient Age, as well as Plato. Aristotle, while determining which forms of government are good and which are bad, made this determination by considering the happiness and well-being of the society as a whole as the highest goal. Since happiness or goodness can only be achieved with a virtuous life, according to Aristotle, the realization of the possibility of virtue in man is the aim of the state and this is the extent to which the forms of government are right or wrong.
So, like other disciplines of philosophy, political philosophy is a discipline that conceptually deals with its specific subject and designs and criticizes all political institutions, facts and ideas in terms of suitability.
We have said that political philosophy deals with the problem of the state arising from the structure of human existence. If this is the main problem of political philosophy, its basic concept is the concept of “state”. However, conceptual inquiry does not focus solely on the “state”; but with “state”