The James Madison Center for Political Science and Philosophy

James Madison
James Madison is perhaps the most important of the "little known" founders of the Republic. He often gets lost with Washington, Adams, Jefferson and even Munroe. But Madison was a principle author of the United States Constitution and one of the driving forces behind its ratification. He was the author of many of the key Federalist Papers that explained the political philosophy behind the Constitution and advocated for its ratification. In many ways, he was the United States first political scientist.

Political Philosophy is the basis of governing. It informes where through explicit references or implicitly through the ideas included in a governance document both the formal written governance and, if it is different, the informal execution of government.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a simple and accurate definition:

Political philosophy begins with the question: what ought to be a persson's relationship to society? The subject seeks the application of ethical concepts to the social sphere and thus deals with the variety of forms of government and social existence that people could live in -- and in so doing, it also provides a standard by which to analyze and judge existing institutions and relationships.

Although the two are intimately linked by a range of philosophical issues and methods, political philosophy can be distinguished from political science. Political science predominantly deals with existing states of affairs, and insofar as it is possible to be amoral in its descriptions, it seeks a positive analysis of social affairs – for example, constitutional issues, voting behavior, the balance of power, the effect of judicial review, and so forth. Political philosophy generates visions of the good social life: of what ought to be the ruling set of values and institutions that combine men and women together. The subject matter is broad and connects readily with various branches and sub-disciplines of philosophy including philosophy of law and of economics.

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