Home > Ethics, Videos > Introduction to Political Philosophy with Professor Steven B. Smith

Introduction to Political Philosophy with Professor Steven B. Smith


About the Course

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.

Class Sessions

Click session titles below to access audio, video, and course materials.

1. Introduction: What Is Political Philosophy?
2. Socratic Citizenship: Plato, Apology
3. Socratic Citizenship: Plato, Crito
4. Philosophers and Kings: Plato, Republic, I-II
5. Philosophers and Kings: Plato, Republic, III-IV
6. Philosophers and Kings: Plato, Republic, V
7. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle, Politics, I, III
8. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle, Politics, IV
9. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle, Politics, VII
10. New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli, The Prince (chaps. 1-12)
11. New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli, The Prince (chaps. 13-26)
12. The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan
13. The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan
14. The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan
15. Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (1-5)
16. Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (7-12)
17. Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (13-19)
18. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality (author’s preface, part I)
19. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality (part II)
20. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Social Contract, I-II
21. Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville, Democracy in America
22. Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville, Democracy in America
23. Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville, Democracy in America
24. In Defense of Politics

Source: Yale Univeristy, http://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/introduction-to-political-philosophy/content/class-sessions, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhm55mIdSuk&feature=PlayList&p=8D95DEA9B7DFE825&index=0&playnext=1

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