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POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, Francis Fukuyama, Liberal Democracy

Political Science
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September 13th, 2010
On the nature of politics: Man is by nature a political animal and he who is
unable to live in a society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for
himself... -Aristotle
We are forced to live a collective existence, society is organized thus, we are
political creatures
Big Themes of the Class
Democracy, dictatorship, war and peace
Essential parts of the human condition, what does it mean to live in a
democracy would we know if we werent living in a democracy
anymore? Would we know if we were suddenly living in a communist
The point of social science is to try to make sense of the world we live
in, using reason to understand the world we live in, explain the world,
and predict it
How do you perceive political science scientifically? We simplify it,
focus on what matters, how do we make sense of it?
Democracy and War
Is the world becoming more democratic and peaceful?
Francis Fukuyama
Summer 1989 - communism starts to crumble, Berlin wall crumbles in
the fall, Fukuyama tries to make sense of it, is it dictatorship
Hegel what is history, what do we think of when we think of history,
is it just the story of one thing after the other?
History of Human Consciousness
History of philosophy?
Not of kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, celebrities; they
steal big ideas
When you see a war, what you are seeing are people dying; but whats
really happening out there is a clash of ideas
War people die, however; NOT whats really happening. Whats
important is the clash of ideas
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The history of the world is the history of the human consciousness, the
way that we think
For ex. Religion; are all material manifestations of what is really
happening in the world
War itself is not history, what they are fighting about is history
Really big ideas are those that organize human society
Ancient society
Medieval society
Hegel and the Liberal State
Hegel and the battle of Jena victory of liberty, equality, and
fraternity. Napoleons troops pour out from the side of the mountain
Napoleon and his troops represent the ideals of the French revolution
(liberty, equality, fraternity)
History is the history of ideas, how society is organized. No more ideas
that succeed this ideathan history has ergo ended (this is what
Hegel theorizes)
Big ideas drive human history, if no more ideas after this, than Hegel
believes history has come to an end
For example, the ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity would rule
supreme; therefore the world henceforth according to Hegel would be
one of liberty, equality, fraternity
There may still be war, dictators, etc., but ultimately this idea would be
a winner, nothing to come after it whatsoever
Hegel says we dont need to know all of those things (i.e. CNN
Theory alone explains the most with the least, transcends poverty of
the human condition, social science tries to make the world less scary
by focusing on a few things
Whats essential? The big ideas, for each age, you study the big ideas,
what would you study from each age? (i.e. celebs, inventions? Most
likely not.) Hegel says go for the big ideas
Fukuyama says Hegel was right, wrong by a little bit, wrong by 183
years, NOT 1806 but 1989
Big challengers to liberal democracy had lost in 1989 (i.e. Hitler went
to war in favour of war, dictatorship)
Communism was the challenger, they had tried but lost; and
communism fell Fukuyama says that was the end of history
After global capitalism? What comes after? Global communism?
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