January 6 , 2014 – Lecture 1
I. Ancient vs. Modern (a few differences)
II. Two visions of politics/freedom?
• Political thought = history of ideas
• Themes: Fear (Machiavelli, Hobbes… will be a question/theme on exam),
Obedience (Good to obey, why do we obey, etc.), Happiness, Government,
Politics (why do we have politics?)
II) Why do we engage in politics, why do we have politics?
• Machiavelli’s famous for his bitter critique of the Catholic Church, he hides a lot
of things between the lines and only the smart ones are capable of seeing the
message. Religion is dangerous rubbish for politics.
• Hobbe’s will try to ground political theory on what’s right here and individual
reason, instead of the word of God. Tries to use God and the Church and submits
those to the power of reason.
• How did Plato conceive of the morality/ethics vs. politics? What one is superior to
▯Want good and just city, citizens should be good and virtuous, moral character
mattered a great deal to citizens. Machiavelli and Plato have different views on
morality and politics, almost opposite accounts.
• In the upcoming books, a lot of attention is focused on the individual: Individual
freedoms, rights, and economy.
• Individual rights and fr