S.P. Varma in his work “Modern Political Theory” identifies following causes for the decline of political theory which have been attributed by Easton. These include:
According to David Easton, writers such as Dunning, Sabine, Mcliwain, Lindsay, Carlye, are more interested in describing the causes for rise of an ideology, system of values etc. They do not engage in stimulating their own thought to find solutions to contemporary social problems.
2. Moral Relativism:
Easton accuses Hume and Weber of having relativistic attitude towards ‘values’ and neglecting what consequences do they have for the ‘facts.’ However, a political scientist to be sensitive towards social problems, construct values and not transplant them.
3. Confusing Science and Theory:
Easton accuses the political theorists of using science and theory in a wrong way. In fact, he points out that mere use of scientific method cannot generate theories. The latter task involves identifying major variables and establishing a harmonious relationship between them.
4. Hyper factualism:
Easton accuses writers like Paul Bryce of using theory simply to accumulate facts. Such tendencies, in his opinion fail to relate themselves with the significant problems in a political system. He observes “theory without facts may be a well- piloted ship with an unsound keel.
But where preoccupation with fact-gathering siphons away energy from seeing the facts in their theoretical significance then the ultimate value of factual research itself will be lost”
Alfred Cobban presents a very pessimistic picture of political theory. He holds that despite being an intellectually rich tradition since the time of Plato, there has been a dearth of such work since the 18th century.
Among the external causes for the decline of political theory, he mentions increasing role of the state and bureaucratic machinery and military establishment.
However, political theory with which he associates political philosophy has been deeply affected by growing influence of scientific attitude and historical approach.
Pointing at the earlier phases, he observes “they wrote to condemn or support existing institutions, to justify a political system or persuade their fellow citizens to change it because, in the last resort, they were concerned with the aims, the purpose of political society cannot remain insulated from the sphere of ‘values’, it will have to engage itself in such exercises and only then can it give a sense of direction.
Despite being an advocate of decline thesis, Dante Germino is optimistic about its future. Like Cobban, he locates the decline of political theory to the growing ascendancy of Scientism.
But he also brings in what he describes as ‘ideological reductionism’ found in the works of Tracy, Comte and Marx.
These writers considered ideas as a reflection of and determined by some determinate variable, while Tracy considered sensation as the source of ideas. Marx gave importance to matter.
Such scepticism with the state of political theory set pace for methodological purification and theory building. It found its most elaborate accommodation in the behaviouralism characterized by Germino as ‘Neo Positivism.’