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Lectures (Video)

Introduction to Political Philosophy

Course Summary

This course is based on PLSC 114 Introduction to Political Philosophy, Fall 2006 made available by Yale University: Open Yale under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.
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.

Reading Material

1. Aristotle - Politics
Aristotle. Politics. Edited by Stephen Iverson. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
(A free version is available at the link above)
2. Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan
Hobbes. Leviathan. Edited by Richard Tuck. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780521560993.
(A free version is available at the link above)
3. John Locke - Second Treatise of Government
Locke. Second Treatise of Government. Edited by C. B. Macpherson. Indianapolis, Ind.: Hackett Pub. Co., 1980. ISBN: 9780915144938.
(A free version is available at the link above)
4. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Basic Political Writings
Rousseau. Basic Political Writings. Edited by Donald A. Cress. Indianapolis, Ind.: Hackett Pub. Co., 1987. ISBN: 9780872200470.
(Click the button below to see a preview of the book)

5. Alexis de Tocqueville - Democracy in America
Tocqueville. Democracy in America. Edited by J. P. Mayer. New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1988. ISBN: 9780060915223.
(A free version is available at the following links: Volume 1 and Volume 2)
6. Plato - Trial and Death of Socrates (13 MB pdf)
A free downloadable version of the book in pdf format is available (13 MB pdf) at the link above.
7. Plato - Republic
A free online version of the book is available at the link above (Project Gutenberg).
8. Machiavelli - The Prince
A free online version of the book is available at the link above (Project Gutenberg).

Course Material

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Other Resources

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