Why Political Science is an Ethical Issue

Event Date: 

Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 12:30pm

Event Location: 

  • The Lane Room (Ellison 3824)

Jason Blakely
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Pepperdine University

Can political scientists engage in ethical and ideological critique? Or do they have to remain value-neutral? Jason Blakely of Pepperdine University will deliver a paper on how researchers and students of politics can become ethically engaged by adopting an interpretive approach to the study of politics.

Many advocates of interpretive approaches to the study of politics emphasize that what is at stake is a conflict between “quantitative” versus “qualitative” methods. By contrast, we begin by suggesting that political scientists are free to use whichever method they find most useful for their research purposes. Instead of methodological reasons for making the interpretive turn, political scientists have ethical reasons for adopting this paradigm. In particular, interpretive approaches give political scientists: a better account of the nature and role of values in human life; a sense for how the historical past is ethically relevant; the ability to advance politically engaged sociologies; and a deliberative critique of technocracy. Political scientists should be free to critically engage, scrutinize, and even normatively evaluate human ethical positions.

Sponsored by UCSB Associated Students, the Political Science Graduate Student Association, and the Department of Political Science.