Course: Introduction to Political Philosophy with Steven B. Smith Dnatube

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Lec 1 - Introduction: What is Political ...

"Lec 1 - Introduction: What is Political Philosophy?" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) Professor Smith discusses the nature and scope of "political philosophy." The oldest of the social sciences, the study of political philosophy must begin with the works of Plato and Aristotle, and examine in depth the fundamental concepts and categories of the study of politics. The...
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Lec 2 - Socratic Citizenship: Plato's Ap ...

"Lec 2 - Socratic Citizenship: Plato's Apology" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The lecture begins with an explanation of why Plato's Apology is the best introductory text to the study of political philosophy. The focus remains on the Apology as a symbol for the violation of free expression, with Socrates justifying his way of life as a philosopher and defending the utility...
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Lec 3 - Socratic Citizenship: Plato's Crito

"Lec 3 - Socratic Citizenship: Plato's Crito" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) In the Apology, Socrates proposes a new kind of citizenship in opposition to the traditional one that was based on the poetic conception of Homer. Socrates' is a philosophical citizenship, relying on one's own powers of independent reason and judgment. The Crito, a dialogue taking place in Socrates'...
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Lec 4 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato's ...

"Lec 4 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato's Republic, I-II" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) Lecture 4 introduces Plato's Republic and its many meanings in the context of moral psychology, justice, the power of poetry and myth, and metaphysics. The Republic is also discussed as a utopia, presenting an extreme vision of a polis--Kallipolis--Plato's ideal city. 00:00 - Chapter...
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Lec 5 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato's ...

"Lec 5 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato's Republic, III-IV" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The discussion of the Republic continues. An account is given of the various figures, their role in the dialogue and what they represent in the work overall. Socrates challenges Polemarchus' argument on justice, questions the distinction between a friend and an enemy, and asserts his...
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Lec 6 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato's ...

"Lec 6 - Philosophers and Kings: Plato's Republic, V" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) In this last session on the Republic, the emphasis is on the idea of self-control, as put forward by Adeimantus in his speech. Socrates asserts that the most powerful passion one needs to learn how to tame is what he calls thumos. Used to denote "spiritedness" and "desire," it is associated...
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Lec 7 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule o ...

"Lec 7 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle's Politics, I, III" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The lecture begins with an introduction of Aristotle's life and works which constitute thematic treatises on virtually every topic, from biology to ethics to politics. Emphasis is placed on the Politics, in which Aristotle expounds his view on the naturalness of the...
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Lec 8 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule o ...

"Lec 8 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle's Politics, IV" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The lecture discusses Aristotle's comparative politics with a special emphasis on the idea of the regime, as expressed in books III through VI in Politics. A regime, in the context of this major work, refers to both the formal enumeration of rights and duties within a...
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Lec 9 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule o ...

"Lec 9 - The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle's Politics, VII" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) This final lecture on Aristotle focuses on controlling conflict between factions. Polity as a mixture of the principles of oligarchy and democracy, is the regime that, according to Aristotle, can most successfully control factions and avoid dominance by either extreme....
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Lec 10 - New Modes and Orders: Machiave ...

"Lec 10 - New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli's The Prince (chaps. 1-12)" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The lecture begins with an introduction of Machiavelli's life and the political scene in Renaissance Florence. Professor Smith asserts that Machiavelli can be credited as the founder of the modern state, having reconfigured elements from both the Christian empire and the...
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Lec 11 - New Modes and Orders: Machiave ...

"Lec 11 - New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli's The Prince (chaps. 13-26)" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The discussion of Machiavelli's politics continues in the context of his most famous work, The Prince. A reformer of the moral Christian and classical concepts of goodness and evil, Machiavelli proposes his own definitions of virtue and vice, replacing the vocabulary...
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Lec 12 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes' L ...

"Lec 12 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) This is an introduction to the political views of Thomas Hobbes, which are often deemed paradoxical. On the one hand, Hobbes is a stern defender of political absolutism. The Hobbesian doctrine of sovereignty dictates complete monopoly of power within a given territory and over all institutions...
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Lec 13 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Le ...

"Lec 13 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) Hobbes' most famous metaphor, that of "the state of nature," is explained. It can be understood as the condition of human life in the absence of authority or anyone to impose rules, laws, and order. The concept of the individual is also discussed on Hobbesian terms, according to which the...
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Lec 14 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Le ...

"Lec 14 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The concept of sovereignty is discussed in Hobbesian terms. For Hobbes, "the sovereign" is an office rather than a person, and can be characterized by what we have come to associate with executive power and executive authority. Hobbes' theories of laws are also addressed and the distinction he...
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Lec 15 - Constitutional Government: Lock ...

"Lec 15 - Constitutional Government: Locke's Second Treatise (1-5)" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) John Locke had such a profound influence on Thomas Jefferson that he may be deemed an honorary founding father of the United States. He advocated the natural equality of human beings, their natural rights to life, liberty, and property, and defined legitimate government in...
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Lec 16 - Constitutional Government: Lock ...

"Lec 16 - Constitutional Government: Locke's Second Treatise (7-12)" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) In the opening chapters of his Second Treatise, Locke "rewrites" the account of human beginnings that had belonged exclusively to Scripture. He tells the story of how humans, finding themselves in a condition of nature with no adjudicating authority, enjoy property acquired...
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Lec 17 - Constitutional Government: Lock ...

"Lec 17 - Constitutional Government: Locke's Second Treatise (13-19)" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) In this lecture, two important issues are addressed in the context of Locke's Second Treatise. First, there is discussion on the role of the executive vis-a-vis the legislative branch of government in Locke's theory of the constitutional state. Second, Locke's political...
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Lec 18 - Democracy and Participation: Ro ...

"Lec 18 - Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Discourse" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) This lecture is an introduction to the life and works of Rousseau, as well as the historical and political events in France after the death of Louis XIV. Writing in a variety of genres and disciplines, Rousseau helped bring to fruition the political and intellectual movement known as...
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Lec 19 - Democracy and Participation: Ro ...

"Lec 19 - Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Discourse" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The discussion on the origins of inequality in the Second Discourse continues. This lecture focuses on amour-propre, a faculty or a disposition that is related to a range of psychological characteristics such as pride, vanity, and conceit. The Social Contract is subsequently discussed...
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Lec 20 - Democracy and Participation: R ...

"Lec 20 - Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Social Contract, I-II" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) The concept of "general will" is considered Rousseau's most important contribution to political science. It is presented as the answer to the gravest problems of civilization, namely, the problems of inequality, amour-propre, and general discontent. The social contract is...
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Lec 21 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocquevi ...

"Lec 21 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville's Democracy in America" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) With the emergence of democracies in Europe and the New World at the beginning of the nineteenth century, political philosophers began to re-evaluate the relationship between freedom and equality. Tocqueville, in particular, saw the creation of new forms of social power that...
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Lec 22 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocquev ...

"Lec 22 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville's Democracy in America" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) Three main features that Tocqueville regarded as central to American democracy are discussed: the importance of local government, the concept of "civil association," and "the spirit of religion." The book is not simply a celebration of the democratic experience in America;...
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Lec 23 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocquev ...

"Lec 23 - Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville's Democracy in America" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) Professor Smith discusses the moral and psychological components of the democratic state in the context of Tocqueville's Democracy in America. He goes on to explore the institutional development of the democratic state, the qualities of the democratic individual, and the...
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Lec Last - In Defense of Politics

"Lec Last - In Defense of Politics" Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) This final lecture of the course is given "in defense of politics." First, the idea and definition of "politics" and the "political" are discussed with reference to the ideas of Immanuel Kant and twentieth-century political scientists, novelists, and philosophers such as Bernard Crick, E. M. Forster, and Carl...

Introduction to Political Philosophy with Steven B. Smith


Source of these courses is Yale 
This lecture name is Introduction to Political Philosophy with Steven B. Smith. 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.
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COURSE NAME: Introduction to Political Philosophy with Steven B. Smith

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