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   Course Title    Political Thought from Plato to Hume
Lecturer    Maya Gogoladze
Institution    Tbilisi State University
Country    Georgia


AIM OF THE COURSE

"Political Thought from Plato to Hume" is a one semester course. It is designed for 16 academic hours. The course will focus on the major turning points of western political thought from Plato to Hume. It will survey important views of great political thinkers on the development of state, politics, morality, design of political and social institutions, political order etc. Special attention will be given to the tendencies of development of these ideas.

OBJECTIVES OF THE COURSE

Upon completion of this course students should be able:

  1. To understand the roots and main tendencies of development of western political thought
  2. To follow the development of political thought from Plato to Hume and to compare and analyze tendencies of major turning points of this development
  3. To give critical analyses of major political ideas of presented periods
  4. To analyze assumptions concerning citizenship, political systems, political order, rule of law, justice, freedom of man, liberty etc.
  5. To discuss the ideas of past thinkers in the context of relation with the issues that are of vital concern today.

METHODS USED

To make students understand these vital ideas, the course will include as an essential part original works of great writers, that will make students familiar with the major turning points of western political thought and at the same time leave room for comments and critical thinking.

The method of comparative analyses will be used to discuss the statements of past thinkers that are of direct and vital concern today. The course also includes methods of discussion, seminars and individual projects. Students will be assigned to examine and analyze selected ideas from the course framework in classroom presentation. The purpose is to determine students’ knowledge of the subject matter and their ability to assess and communicate its political meaning. Class presentations and critical analyses will be judged on content, mechanics, clarity, and extent of research, creativity.

COURSE CONTENT

1. The Greek Faith In Reason

The idea is to make students familiar with roots of western philosophy. This introductory lecture will focus on main tendencies of development of western thought, the birth of which occurred in the sixth century B.C. in Ionian settlement on the west coast of Asia Minor and on the islands off the coast. Sixth-century B.C. Ionian thought marks the beginning of western science and philosophy often described as "the Greek way of thinking about the world". The general tendency of the understanding of Man and Nature will be analyzed.

2. Plato – "The Republic"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Justice as the interest of stronger, Ruling as an art, The rudiments of social organization, Selection of rulers, The virtues in the state, Three parts of the soul, The virtues of the individual, Equality of women, Democracy and the democratic man.

3. Aristotle – "Politics"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Nature and origin of the state, Critique of Plato’s –"Republic", Property: Equality or Inequality, Citizenship, Political systems, Democracy and Oligarchy, Monarchy, Liberty and Equality, The rule of law, The best State, Political moderation and stability: The middle classes.

3. Cicero – "The Republic and The Law"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Civic Responsibility: its duties and rewords, The main types of the state, The best constitution, Natural law and the unity of mankind.

4. The Judeo-Christian Background.

To understand development of western thought it is important to consider its Judeo-Christian background as Judeo-Christian religious and moral heritage is the other major source of western civilization and political thought.

5. St. Augustine –"The City of God"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Justice – the foundation of the state, The Earthly and the Heavenly city, The two types of man, Conflict and peace in the earthly city, The lust for power in the earthly city, limitations of social life, The tranquility of order in the Universe, Liberty and Slavery, The supranational character of the heavenly city on earth.

6. St. Thomas Aquinas –" On Kingship", "Summa Theologia"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Definition of Kingship, Rule by one or by many? Resistance to tyrants, Kings are subject to priests, Whether law is something pertaining to reason? Whether the law is always directed to the common good? Whether human law should always be changed, whenever something better occurs?

7. Marselio of Padua –"The Defender of Peace"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Forms of Government, Authority based on election, The accountability of rulers, The church and coercive authority.

8. Machiavelli – "The Prince"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Constant readiness for war, Liberality and niggardliness, Cruelty and clemency: Is it better to be loved or feared? The usefulness of fortresses, How princes gain reputation.

9. The Protestant reformation: Luther –" Secular Authority: To What Extent it Should be Obeyed".

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Secular authority derives from God, non-resistance, The two kingdoms, Obedience to secular authority, The extent of secular authority.

10. Calvin –"Institutes of Christian Religion"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: Spiritual and Political Government, The discipline of the Church: no one exempted, On civil government, The duty of political rule, The duty of subjects.

11. Hobbes –" Leviathan"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: The state of nature, The social contract, The common wealth, Rights of the sovereign, Liberty of the subject, Civil Law and natural law, Subversive political doctrines.

12. Locke –"Two Treatises of Government"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: The state of nature, The State of war, Property, Political society, The end of Government, The limits of Government, The rights of rebel.

13. Montesqueu –" The Spirit of the Laws"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: The social and physical foundation of Government, Republican government and the laws relative to democracy, The principle of democracy, Corruption of the principles of democracy.

14. Montesqueu –" The Spirit of the Laws"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: The confederate republic, Meaning of liberty, The crime of high treason of republics, Religion and forms of state, religious tolerance.

15. Hume –"Essays Moral, Political and literary"

This theme will focus on the following topics of the work: On the origin of government, Of the original contract.

16. Hume –"An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals."

This theme will focus on the following topic of the work: On Justice.

READINGS:

Guthrie, W. K. "A History of Greek Philosophy", vol.5- 6, Cambridge, 1962.

Burckhard, J. "History of Greek Culture", New York, 1963.

Dickinson, G. "The Greek View of Life", sec. ch. "The Greek View of State"(pp.69-137).

Plato "The Republic", Oxford University Press, 1945.

Aristotle "Politics", Oxford University Press,

Cicero "The Republic and The Law", Harvard University Press, 1928

St. Augustine "The City of God", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

St. Thomas Aquanis " On Kingship", "Summa Theologia", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

Marselio of Padua "The Defender of Peace", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

Machiavelli "The Prince", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

Luther " Secular Authority: To What Extent it Should be Obeyed", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

Calvin "Institutes of Christian Religion", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979.

Hobbes –" Leviathan", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979.

Locke –"Two Treatises of Government", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

Montesqueu –" The Spirit of the Laws", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

Hume –"Essays Moral, Political and literary", from Ebenstein W. "Great Political Thinkers", New York, 1979

Rosen M. "Political Thought", Oxford, 1999

Bunnin N. "The Blackwell competition to Philosophy", ch. 8 "Political and social Philosophy" Blackwell, 1998

Boucher D. "Social Justice from Hume to Walzer", ch. 2 "D. Hume, Contractarian", London and New York, 1998

The Blackwell Dictionary of Political Science, Blackwell,1970



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