Introduction to Political Philosophy

Brian Smith

Introduction to Political Philosophy
  • Killerrobots (drones)
  • Automation and automated thinking
  • Pattern of life analysis
  • Criteria-based reasoning
  • Civilian casualties
  • Hannah Arendt

    The central focus of political philosophy historically has been the relationship between humans and their political institutions. A number of important questions stem from this relationship: the nature of political authority; the end or purpose of government, and what counts as a legitimate government; the obligations citizens may have to one another; the justifications for resisting political authority, engaging in civil disobedience; the justifications for political violence, more broadly; the nature and character of liberty; among other things. The exact readings for this class will vary from quarter to quarter, but we will look at an assortment of the following political philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, More, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Mill, Thoreau, Marx, Arendt, Weil, Camus, and King. This class is designed to introduce you to the discipline. 

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