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Open Educational Resources

Instructor

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Overview

This course is intended as an introduction to political philosophy as seen through an examination of some of the major texts and thinkers of the Western political tradition. Three broad themes that are central to understanding political life are focused upon: the polis experience (Plato, Aristotle), the sovereign state (Machiavelli, Hobbes), constitutional government (Locke), and democracy (Rousseau, Tocqueville). The way in which different political philosophies have given expression to various forms of political institutions and our ways of life are examined throughout the course.

18 hours of video;

24 lectures;

Reading assignments.

Course books

Professor

Steven B. Smith is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science and Master of Branford College at Yale. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1981. At Yale he has served as the Director of Graduate Studies in Political Science, Director of the Undergraduate Program in Humanities, and Acting Chair of Judaic Studies. His research has been focused on the history of political philosophy and the role of statecraft in constitutional government. His recent publications include Spinoza, Liberalism, and Jewish Identity, Spinoza's Book of Life, and Reading Leo Strauss.

 

Creative Commons License
PLSC 114: Introduction to Political Philosophy by Professor Steven B. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/plsc-114.

Course content

  • Lecture 1 - Introduction: What Is Political Philosophy?

  • Lecture 2 - Socratic Citizenship: Plato, Apology

  • Lecture 3 - Socratic Citizenship: Plato, Crito

  • Lecture 4 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato, Republic, I-II

  • Lecture 5 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato, Republic, III-IV

  • Lecture 6 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato, Republic, V

  • Lecture 7 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle, Politics, I, III

  • Lecture 8 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle, Politics, IV

  • Lecture 9 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle, Politics, VII

  • Lecture 10 - New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli, The Prince (chaps. 1-12)

  • Lecture 11 - New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli, The Prince (chaps. 13-26)

  • Lecture 12 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan

  • Lecture 13 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan

  • Lecture 14 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan

  • Lecture 15 - Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (1-5)

  • Lecture 16 - Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (7-12)

  • Lecture 17 - Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (13-19)

  • Lecture 18 - Democracy & Participation: Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality (Author's Preface, Part I)

  • Lecture 19 - Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality (Part II)

  • Lecture 20 - Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Social Contract, I-II

  • Lecture 21 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  • Lecture 22 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  • Lecture 23 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  • Lecture 24 - In Defense of Politics

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