Political Philosophy

Lecture, Open—Year

All political action aims at preservation or change—change for the better, preservation to avoid something worse. All  political action, therefore, requires some thought of better or worse, and so good and bad. Political philosophy is the ongoing attempt to raise and answer questions about the collective good—and always some form of the quest for understanding the nature of the best possible political regime. We will examine various answers that have been given to the question of what is the best regime, taking some care not to assume that we have progressed beyond the thought of the past simply because it is past. Readings will include works of Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Swift, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche.