Professor Kaplan's goal is to make these works accessible without distorting or oversimplifying them. As you will see, the study of political theory is an enjoyable, gratifying, and challenging subject that will reward the effort you put into thinking about it many times over.
Political theory helps us to think about who we are, where we are coming from, and where we are going. At the same time, theory does not tell us what to do, but can help us to act with purpose and vision. It helps us to step back and get perspective on our problems and on who we really are.
Here, you'll investigate how the language of political theory conveys its meaning. This course is not a substitute for reading the texts, but it can help you to overcome some of the obstacles that the texts present. It is not easy to pick up a book by Aristotle or Hobbes and figure it out on your own. We all need some help in understanding the world, and that is the starting point for political theory itself.
As you embark on this adventure, you are taking part in a community that comes from specific times and places, but transcends them. These great works can speak to us today, wherever we are. Political theory does this better than many other subjects, in part because the theorist wants us to look around and think about the specifics of the world around us, but also to lift our heads and see farther than we normally do. By the conclusion of this course, you will see a dramatic difference in your ability to understand what you read or watch in the news.
©2005 Joshua Kaplan; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
As the presidential election gathered steam this fall, I was listening to this course by Dr. Kaplan and felt as if he was channeling expert commentary from the great political thinkers of history. My advice: Turn off the TV talking heads and listen to this course. It will connect many of the bits of information you already have about politics -- then sharpen everything into a clear picture.
I love Thucydides
The narrator, professor Kaplan, begins his analysis of political science with the ancient Greeks and leads up to modern Game theory. It between, you take a trip through many of the great authors that deal with the subject of political science such as: Machiavelli, Rousseau, John Locke, et cetera. This is one of my favorite audio books, and I plan to listen to it many more times.
Anyone looking for a wide-ranging, systematic treatment of classical political thought/science might look elsewhere. I would retitle this something like, "some of this professor's favorite important political thinkers: a grab bag." As such, it is fairly well-delivered and a pleasant listen. It is in a sort of vernacular, personalized style, which I might call "very college, very undergrad;" not the sort of high academic delivery I might have expected. Some will prefer that, and for fine reasons: it will speak to a pretty wide audience.
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