Course Details

Political Philosophy: An Introduction

Are you interested in politics? Get the stimulus you need by learning philosophical approaches that will help you both understand and go beyond the conventional language of media and social networks. This course is designed as a vocabulary of the main terms used by all of us when talking about loca...

A brief summary

Are you interested in politics? Get the stimulus you need by learning philosophical approaches that will help you both understand and go beyond the conventional language of media and social networks. This course is designed as a vocabulary of the main terms used by all of us when talking about local as well as world politics. We often use these terms without a proper awareness of their meanings and connections, a circumstance not exactly helpful for any attempt to understand how politics really works, regardless of our wishful thinking or simplistic morality or easy cynicism. Now, if we want to go deeper into the workings of politics - the only serious starting point for those who want reform - we must agree to begin with very abstract notions. This includes the general definitions of what politics, conflict, power (incl. force/violence), and what legitimate power mean (Part 1: What is Politics?). On these premises, we will then explain the still main political institution, the state, and peer into the dynamics of war and peace that has dominated the relationships between the states (Part 2: How Does Politics Work?). Since with economic globalisation, which has restricted the room for political action, things are getting much more complicated on the planet, and more challenging outside of it (man-made climate change starts in the atmosphere), classical notions have to be rethought. The very nature of the threats endangering our global commons does not leave the definition of politics (Part 3: World Politics and the Future). This course does not aim at communicating any 'message' as to how politics ought to be. However, we will obviously try to clarify the main concepts - freedom, equality, justice - concepts we will make use of while talking about values and principles in politics. This is, what is called 'normative political philosophy' and is regarded here as an important chapter of political philosophy, not the whole of it (Part 4: Ethics and Politics).

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