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.

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