IntroductionToPoliticalPhilosophy

Senior Course - 15 yrs and up, $175.00, 14 week course - Prerequisite: Introductory Great Books

Discover the world beyond political headlines and democratic institutions—the world that forged the path for the systems of government that dominate our international arena today. This course explores the primary thinkers in political philosophy, from Plato and Aristotle to Alexis De Tocqueville and John Locke. By digging into classic texts, we’ll consider the most fundamental questions about the very ideas that underpin the political sphere: What is justice? Is democracy the best form of government? What is just war? and What makes an ideal regime? Using socratic dialogue to engage with some of the greatest minds this world has ever seen, students will hone their critical thought, develop an arsenal of ideas for political critique, and come to understand politics as they have never understood it before. 


Reading List:

Week 1: Funeral Oration by Thucydides (Pericles)

Week 2: The Republic by Plato, Book 7-8

Week 3: The Politics by Aristotle, Books 3 & 7

Week 4: The City of God by Augustine, Book 19

Week 5: Summa Theologica, On War (IIa IIae 40); On Sedition (IIa IIae 42), On Justice (IIa IIae 58) by Thomas Aquinas

Week 6: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Week 7: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, Book 1, Ch. 13-15

Week 8: The Second Treatise of Civil Government by John Locke, Ch. 1-3, 8-9

Week 9: The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Book 1-2

Week 10: The Federalist Paper No. 10 by James Madison; The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions by Abraham Lincoln

Week 11: On Liberty by J.S. Mills, Ch. 1-2

Week 12:  Democracy in America, Preface to Section 1 and Section 2, Book 4, Chapter VIII by Alexis de Tocqueville

Week 13: The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx

Week 14: The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man by Hannah Arendt