Introduction to Political Philosophy

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. 

Brian Smith:

Brian Smith received his PhD in Political Science from Boston University. He also earned an MS in Ethics and Public Policy from Suffolk University. Broadly he works in political theory/philosophy. Additional information is available here.