Political philosophy is the study of such topics as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever. In a vernacular sense, the term "political philosophy" often refers to a general view, or specific ethic, political belief or attitude, about politics that does not necessarily belong to the technical discipline of philosophy.
Political philosophy can also be understood by analysing it through the perspectives of metaphysics, epistemology and axiology. It provides insight into, among other things, the various aspects of the origin of the state, its institutions and laws.
Famous quotes containing the words political and/or philosophy:
“If any doubt has arisen as to me, my country [Virginia] will have my political creed in the form of a Declaration &c. which I was lately directed to draw. This will give decisive proof that my own sentiment concurred with the vote they instructed us to give.”
—Thomas Jefferson (17431826)
“People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget this,that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog. Philosophy will not do it.”
—John Jay Chapman (18621933)