Without it we would regress to a beast-like state. For Rousseau, civilization is killing us. For Rousseau the goal is to reclaim a more natural existence. So, who is right?
The Polis Our first unit deals with the origins of Western thinking on the polis, the Greek word for city-state.
We will read Plato's famous work, The Republic, which presents an extended argument in dramatic form for what might constitute the ideal polis, encompassing consideration of all aspects of governance, citizenship, social order, and personal virtue.
Speaking through the character of his teacher Socrates, Plato's model of the ideal city-state mirrors the order of nature as based in his metaphysical Theory of Forms, famously articulated here in The Republic through its famous Allegory of The Cave.
Plato's streamlined view of political and social life holds that the city-state should be governed by a ruler with philosophical training capable of comprehending the true nature of reality, justice, and wisdom, and where one's place in society is determined by one's natural abilities.
By contrast, Plato's student Aristotle, while incorporating and responding to many aspects of Platonic thought, develops a decidedly organic, or this-worldly, system of ethics and a corresponding structure for the polis as embodied in the texts of the Nicomachean Ethics and the Politics.
Aristotle's famous claim that "man is by nature a political animal" captures his belief that a natural order between the individual and the community exists as both a power struggle and a distribution of resources, which has as its own end the good held both individually and in common.
Such ideal notions of the city-state, whether Platonic or Aristotelian, and the particulars therein, have been a point of departure for political philosophers since the time of Plato's Athens to the present day.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 40 hours. Modern Political Thought The Greek polis served as an influential model of citizenship and governance for centuries.
Modern political philosophers, however, found that they needed to rethink politics according to a new, more realistic understanding of the way humans actually behave.
As a result, modern government requires both a keen historical sense and the pragmatic use of power. Machiavelli is credited with the distinctly modern notion of an artificial rather than natural state in which the leader should rule swiftly, effectively, and in a calculated manner.
Many associate his theories with the use of deceit and cunning in politics; after Machiavelli, politics was conceived of as an art in which the best rulers governed shrewdly, carefully calculating about enemies, populations, and the timing of certain actions.
Thomas Hobbes adapted this Machiavellian approach on a much larger scale. For Hobbes, the state should be sovereign and secular; the citizens should give up both their allegiance to the church and their rights in exchange for physical security. However, while modern political thought has been built upon the Machiavellian notion of the artificiality of the state, the moderns disagreed on how people behaved and on the degree of a government's strength and pervasiveness necessary to properly govern citizens.
John Locke responded to a strict concept of sovereignty with the idea of constitutional government. Like Hobbes, Locke imagined a civil society capable of resolving conflicts in a civil way, with help from government.
However, Locke also advocated the separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but, at times, an obligation of citizenship.
These three thinkers represent the foundation of modern state theory. Liberal Democracy and Its Critics We conclude our course by discussing various conceptualizations of political and social equality and addressing ways that political thought shifted away from a belief in the primacy of the sovereign state and the legitimacy of elites.
We also discuss how Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed the notion of participatory democracy, the egalitarian view that constituents should be directly involved in the direction and operation of political systems. Alexis de Tocqueville considered participatory democracy when he examined government in young America.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels did the same when they critiqued political liberalism as the ideology of the rich. Our unit serves as a historical platform for discussing today's competing political theories about the role of the state in the redistribution of resources, the government's role in the economy, and the difference between how we act and what we believe.
Study Guide and Review Exercises These study guides are intended to help reinforce key concepts in each unit in preparation for the final exam.
Each unit study guide aligns with course outcomes and provides a summary of the core competencies and a list of vocabulary terms.
The study guides are not meant to replace the readings and videos that make up the course.Human beings are physical objects, according to Hobbes, sophisticated machines all of whose functions and activities can be described and explained in purely mechanistic yunusemremert.com thought itself, therefore, must be understood as an instance of the physical operation of the human body.
Machiavelli's True Views: The Discourses vs. The Prince. Machiavelli expresses views in The Discourses that are equal to his overarching political tenets. he could not help veiling his love of liberty in the midst of his country’s oppression” ( yunusemremert.com). Rousseau believed that Machiavelli concealed his true political beliefs in.
Machiavelli and Rousseau, both significant philosophers, had distinctive views on human nature and the relationship between the government and the governed. Their ideas were radical at the time and remain influential in government today. Rene Descartes ( – ) – Descartes is probably the most famous exponent of the dualist view—human nature is composed of a material body and an immaterial mind/soul.
The body occupies space and is studied by science; the mind/soul doesn’t occupy space and can’t be studied by science. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau shared many concepts, but the similarities between their theories end at the word politics.
Each had different ideas. Rousseau’s and Locke’s ideas appear to be wishful thinking while Hobbes’s ideas seem to be too cynical. • Compare and contrast the views of Machiavelli and Rousseau on human nature and the relationship between the government and the governed.
• How did the developments in scientific thought from Copernicus to Newton.