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Ideas, Knowledge and Politics (Section 46)

To understand political decisions and actions, it is necessary to study the sources and content of our political beliefs. To assess these decisions and actions, we need to study whether our political beliefs are accurate.

Why do different people interpret the political world in different ways? How do they interpret either their own interests or the public interest; from what sources are these interpretations drawn; and how do these interpretations motivate political action? Given political actors’ imperfect knowledge, how do they try to approximate full knowledge of the likely consequences of their actions, and how successful are these attempts? Under what conditions do political beliefs tend to be true? These questions have tended to be neglected within political science, with the result that our understandings of political processes are often incomplete. By addressing itself to the sources and the accuracy of our political beliefs, political epistemology seeks to fill a significant lacuna in political science and political theory.

Founded: 2014
Yearly membership dues: $1 for students and $9 for all other members
Section Counts

Organized sections provide opportunities for APSA members who share a common interest in a particular subfield to organize meetings and coordinate communications under Association auspices.

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Section Officers

Helene Landemore
Yale University
[email protected]

Jeffrey Friedman
University of California, Berkeley
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Nick Clark
Susquehanna University
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Communications Director
Paul Gunn
Goldsmiths, University of London
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2018 Annual Meeting
Nick Clark
Susquehanna University
[email protected]

Jacob Roundtree
Harvard University
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Scott Althaus
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Vivien Schmidt, Boston University

Ted Jelen
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

George Thomas
Claremont McKenna College

Section Awards

Ideas, Knowledge and Politics Graduate Student Paper Award

The Ideas, Knowledge, and Politics (IKP) conference division of APSA announces its 2018 graduate student paper award. This award will recognize the APSA conference paper submitted to IKP by a Ph.D. student for presentation at the 2017 APSA meeting which best advances the concerns of the section.

The award will be given to a paper addressing the role of ideas, knowledge, or beliefs in politics within—or across—any of the subdisciplines of political science. Topics of such papers might include: What are the sources of political actors’ beliefs? Does “bias” affect the flow of political information? What types of knowledge do political actors need? To what extent does political conflict stem from clashing interpretations of information?

Nominations due: November 1, 2017

Award Committee: TBA

All section 46. Ideas, Knowledge and Politics awards to-date »

American Political Science Association
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