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Democracy, War, and Peace - Lecture 1: Fukuyama vs Hegel

Political Science
Course Code
Jeffrey Kopstein

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POL101 – Lec 1 11-09-26 7:31 PM
“ is by nature a political animal…and he who is unable to live in
society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be
either a beast or a god…” – Aristotle, Politics
if your a human being, you are involved in politics
Big themes of Class-> Democracy, Dictatorship, War and Peace
The point of social science is to try to make sense of the world we live in.
How do we make snse of it?
By simplifying, by focusing on what matters and ignoring what doesn’t
That way the world is less scary.
Big questions, politicians ask themselves
1. Is the world becoming more democratic and more peaceful?
Francis Fukuyama looked at communism, Summer 1989, Hegel.
History of Philosophy.
Hegel believed that history of the world is the history of philosophy.
Not kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, or celebrities: they steal
ideas, big ideas.
Hegel -> 19th century german philosopher.
When you see a war, what you are seeing is people dying but what’s
really happening out there is a clash of ideas.
Industry, economy, religious practice are material manifestation but
what’s really going on is the ideas that inform those practices.
Ideas and the organization of human society.
Really big ideas are those that organize human society.
Ancient society. LOOK AT BIG THINKERS
Medieval society.
Liberal Democratic state.
Hegel and the Battle of Jena: victory of “liberty, equality and fraternity”
The french soldiers represent the liberal ideas, the fougth for the liberal
This victory represented the end of history. -> Essential battle of human
history was over.
No new ideas forthcoming that can challenge the BIG big idea.
Vodkaboozia-> Previous leaders
Too often the unyielding attention of the narrow, the irrelevant, the vaipid
is the preoccupation of the human mind. It is theory alone that helps us
transcend this poverty of the human condition. – Hegel, Pholosphy of the
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