Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Political Science


Political Science

Major Advisor

Stewart Gardner, Ph.D.


Stephen Crowley, Ph.D.


Charles Hunt, Ph.D.


While there are many working scientists who engage in things like theory building and empirical testing, there has also been a group of scientists who sought to better understand the philosophy behind science. This philosophical study of science as a project is referred to as the philosophy of science and there are different sub-fields for each of the natural and social sciences, except for political science. This lack of an explicit sub-field dedicated to reflecting on our philosophy of science, i.e., our beliefs, values, methods, etc., has caused this knowledge to become tacit within our community. Because the knowledge of our philosophy of science is now tacit, we as a community are hindered in our capacity to engage in critical self-reflection which is an important part of any scientific endeavor. However, what has been is not what need be moving forward, we can still turn this tacit knowledge into formal knowledge which will then allow us to grow as a community. This thesis will demonstrate a few of the ways in which our knowledge of the philosophy of our science has become tacit, and why this is indeed a bad thing. The specific topic areas addressed are the misunderstandings of the natural sciences in our community, the process of categorization, and our goals as a scientific tradition. This is in service of the true goal of this thesis project, which is to give a proper augment for the creation of the philosophy of political science as an explicit sub-field.