The Language of "Political Science" in Early Modern Europe

Sophie Smith, Associate Professor of Political Theory, has published a new article on the history of political science in medieval Europe.


Historians of early modern "scientia civilis" focus on two main understandings of that concept: the juridical and the rhetorical. This article focuses on another way of thinking about civil science in the early modern period, the origins and development of which are in the Aristotelian commentary tradition. This article begins with political science in Aristotle then turns to the works of commentators from Albert the Great in the thirteenth century, to the Oxford philosopher John Case in the late sixteenth. It ends on ways that this history offers new perspectives on Hobbes's science of politics, and on the broader historiography.

Dr Sophie Smith is Associate Professor of Political Theory and Tutorial Fellow, University College