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The Political Theory of Political ThinkingThe Anatomy of a Practice$
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Michael Freeden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568031.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Political Theory of Political Thinking

Michael Freeden

Oxford University Press

The practice of political thinking requires more complex theorizing and a different method than those available at present. It cannot be distilled into neat definitions or dichotomies but needs micro-analysis of its features, based on its actual patterns and expressions rather than on ideal-type modelling or normative desiderata. Thus regulative principles cannot capture the actual intricacy of understanding and interpretation without which an account of political thinking as a practice is unattainable. Thinking politically is ubiquitous among human beings, from the specialized to the vernacular, and it can be both deliberate and unintentional. It is to be distinguished from thinking about politics, which relates to the substantive ideas and ideologies people hold. Rather, it precedes those as a fundamental way of thinking in, and confronting, the social world as part of what constitutes us as human beings.

Keywords:   political thinking, political theory, realism, method, thought-practice, political philosophy

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