Without even realizing it, we all use the fruits of political philosophy. From liberty to democracy to community, the terms and concepts originated by political philosophers are ingrained in our global consciousness. Yet many of us have an incomplete picture of how these ideas developed and, quite possibly, a skewed perception of their intentions and implications.
This highly relevant course sheds light on the labyrinth of Western political and social theory, as well as its influence on modern history. Guided by an award-winning professor of philosophy and author, these eye-opening lectures reveal how political philosophers, in responding to the societal problems and changing conditions of their day in revolutionary ways, created virtual blueprints of action for leaders. You'll gain not only the tools to comprehend the omnipresent language of politics, but a thorough understanding of the wellspring of thought that has emerged over centuries of political philosophy and the intellectual origins of major historical movements and events.
Throughout, questions of democracy, freedom, and distributive justice are addressed, and revolutionary figures who have left an indelible mark on history - from Niccolo Machiavelli to Ayn Rand - are encountered.
By the conclusion of lecture 36, you will have the context necessary to appreciate the evolution of a myriad of political ideas, including hot-button topics of today such as libertarianism, neoconservatism, feminism, and environmentalism.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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This is an excellent survey of the philosophical foundations of Western political thought. It covers not only the foundations of Western political thought (Plato and Aristotle) but also recent developments in western political thought (the animal rights movement and feminism). The explanations are clear, objective, and without a lot of philosophical jargon. At a certain point the standard becomes Liberal Republicanism and it is against this standard that other alternate theories are measured. That privileging of Liberal Republicanism seemed unnecessary to me. Yet when alternate theories are presented their critiques of Liberal Republicanism are presented as well. I will most certainly be listening to this book again. It's worth it.
Having no background on the subject, I picked this book up to get a primer. In that capacity, it is an excellent book, covering political philosophy from the ancient greeks to modern society. Excellent and pleasant narration. Recommended!
Starts off a little sudden but quickly settled into an excellent pace. Subject matter was some of the most enlightening I've ever been exposed to and was a great intro into all the major political theories of the western world
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
While this course is dry compared to some other Great Courses offerings, it's still fascinating if you stick with it.
Extraordinary mastery of material. No agenda outwardly and exposes you to ideas never before considered. Overwhelming at times. Will have to repeat some of it to put it together better. Worth it though.
Russell James Garner
I was a big fan of his lectures "The Modern Intellectual Tradition: Descartes to Derrida"
This was another excellent work. Well paced, well researched and engaging
As with The Modern Intellectual tradition, I'll be re-listening several times to soak up more.
Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Some comcepts were difficult but it's worth researching.
Will go through one more time.
Will recommend to others.
The ideas and concepts in this course, as well as the material it covers, are fascinating. The course gives a bird's eye view of politics leading into our modern day situation and provides a thorough and balanced understanding of how we got to where we are.
Professor Cahoone is clearly knowledgeable and has many good insights, but I did find his narration a bit monotonous. Unlike other Great Courses lecturers, he is clearly reading his notes with little improvisation or deviation from them. This might work well for some, but I prefer lecturers who are more animated. I think I may have zoned out for swaths of some lectures and would need to re-listen in order to fully absorb them.
It's still a good course worth taking if you are interested in the material.
I loved listening to these lectures on the political philosophy, though normally I dislike philosophical musings. The speaker was engaging and even handed. The story follows the twists and turns of philosophical thought from early questions of the power of the sovereign vs. the people's power, the natural rights of man, the role of economics, the role of institutions, the role of society on itself and what duties if any people have to society. There is no cut and dry, black and white here. Throughout the evolution of 'Liberal' and 'Conservative' ideas are traced, but often boundaries are crossed and rationalized and criss-crossed in ways that really enlighten the listener to the plethora of justifications for the ways a state may choose to run itself. Excellent, excellent listen.
Clarified politics for me beautifully. Without being partisan. would recommend to anyone who is even slightly confused about our current politics.
"Another gem from Cahoone"
Yes. Cahoone does a great job of distilling complex theories often expressed in difficult language and rendering these easily accessible to the listener.
I thought the explanation of Habermas was excellent. While understandably selective and simplified, Cahoone gets down to the bones of what Habermas says. He renders the obfuscatory Habermas coherent - which is not an easy job!
N/A - although I did enjoy the anecdote about the student in the lecture on Walzer; it was both entertaining and illustrative.
I really do hope Cahoone does another lecture series. His previous lectures series (Decartes to Derrida) was also excellent.
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