POLS 2000 Lecture Notes September 5, 2013
Lecture 1: Introduction
• The focus of the Midterm and the Final will be the lectures.
• For example “Why did I use the analogy of living in Montreal in relation to
• Paper needs a thesis statement.
• Maintain critical engagement with the material analyzed/cited.
• What is Political Philosophy?:
• Some prefer a historical approach.
• For example, placing individuals into their relevant historical context.
• What is Political Action?:
• All political action aims at one of two things (1) Preservationpreventing worse
(evaluative term) things from happening.
• (2) Changebring about something better.
• These evaluative terms bring about thought of “the good”.
• Or “the good life”.
• It is expressed as opinion (it is opinion that expresses the good).
• Then you begin to question what s the good life?
• Then there is an understanding of what is THE good (the standard).
• The task of Political Philosophy is to replace opinions of “the good” with
knowledge of “the good”.
• Political Philosophy is the constant pursuit of knowledge of the “good life” (no
implying they will arrive at a conclusion).
• Philosophy “love of wisdom”.
• Political Philosophy is a branch of Philosophy that deals with political matters in
a manner that is meant to be relevant to political life.
• It is also a quest for knowledge.
• It is related to human life which is “nonphilosophical life”.
• The quest is for universal knowledge or “knowledge of the whole”. 2
• Two Theories That Tried to Discredit Political Philosophy:
• (1). Positivism:
• Attempted to damage the credibility of Political Philosophy.
• Was “scientific”.
• Claimed that “facts” and “values” were separate.
• ASK PROF!!!
• (2). Historicism:
• Second theory that tried to discredit Political Philosophy.
• Said that truth and ideas changed according to historical periods.
• Therefore, there can be no