Political Philosophy 1
The three main political ideologies are Liberalism, Communism, and Fascism.
Liberal Democracy is the middle point between Communism/Socialism and Fascism.
Political Philosophy (Liberal Education) is an attempt to answer the question of how we should live our
lives. It is the Fundamental question humans ask.
Liberal Education frees us from our “customs and traditions,” which raises us until we become rational
(1618). Society molds us into a good citizen. Customs are not always made by smart people, and
accepting customs means not thinking about them.
We are the animals of Reason; the obstacles are cultural socialization and historical relativism.
Relativism: View that there are no absolutes
When people have disagreements on views, this is the base argument of relativism
Because of all the different views, there cannot be one true answer.
Conclude that there cannot be a single correct view because everyone has their own set of values.
1. Different People desire different things
2. People get happy by doing what they desire
Relativism is popular because it makes life less challenging, is an easy way to defend your own ideology,
casts off judgmental people, and is politically correct.
A relativist society will be passionless, apathetic, and unintelligent. If there is no truth to life’s big
questions, higher educations are pointless.
Aristotle: Says people’s desires are a means to an end, and that end is Happiness. However, people desire
the wrong things.
There are 3 goods (in hierarchical order)
Good of the Soul
Rationality, emotion, and character
Good of the Body
Health, beauty, physical fitness
Food, drink, shelter, and clothing, money, power, reputation, friendship
The Soul has two parts: Rational and Irrational.
Nonrational: hunger thirst, emotions, desires impulses
Rational: our reasoning side, also in parts
Theoretical: Knowledge for its own sake
Practical: Knowledge for a purpose
Art/Technology: Controlling the natural world.
Moral: Controlling ourselves, shaping our own life
Contemplative Ideal: Philosophical lifestyle. It is the perfection of theoretical reasoning, lack of concern
with money or fame, striving to know fundamental truths of the universe.
Two highest lifestyles: Knowledge and Morality.
Humans have a desire to know for the sake of knowing, as shown by our enjoyment of our senses.
Moral Ideal (Character Perfection) involves four cardinal virtues. Political Philosophy 2
1. Courage is a form of strength within us in which we rationally deal with fears and worries.
a. Courage is the golden median between cowardice and foolhardiness.
b. Cowards cannot be happy because they have no inner calm.
c. As the rational animal, we know we are constantly in danger of death.
2. Moderation: Selfcontrol, discipline, or selfmastery.
a. True humans have impulse control, mastering their desires.
b. Lacking this virtue renders you unable to be truly happy because you will never fulfill
3. Prudence: Practical wisdom. Understanding of self and life, having good judgment.
a. Knowledge in itself, understanding how the world works.
4. Justice: Social virtue, how to treat and deal with other people.
a. This is related to language, communication with others. We are social animals.
b. The theory of social intelligence made it clear that there were various problems in early
human life, so our intelligence evolved as a way to solve these problems in the physical
world. Reason evolved as a way of handling all the complexities of intrapersonal
Happy people are produced through education. Education is largely from politics. The regime, or the
government and character of the people, determine the way of life of the people. We live for things, and
we are our values. We admire what society admires. Society admires what the leader admires. Thus, the
best should rule. The ruler justifies his rule by saying he has the best way of life. The best form of rule is
Absolute rule by Philosopher Kings. However, People don’t know who the philosophers are, or they
wouldn’t need to be ruled. Philosophers don’t want to rule. People would not obey them because truth is
difficult sometimes to accept.
Second best form of government is an Aristocracy. It would have checks and balances; a senate of the
aristocrats, a monarch, and a democratic majority. Most power would be in the hands of the aristocrats.
Closed society. Aristocrats are the wealthy elite, and also hereditary nobility. This nobility and wealth
from birth frees them from labor and allows them to be educated in order to lead the people. This is an
unjust society, but the best that is possible.
Three fundamental teachings of classical philosophy:
1. Government’s goal is to produce happy people
2. Inequality and aristocracy are the best form of government
3. Closed society is necessary
City life is also important, as it breeds citizenry in a unified society of the same values with a high level
of certainty and passion.
Modern Age: Began in 1517 AD. Nicolaus Copernicus was making scientific discoveries, Martin Luther
breaks off from the Roman Catholic Church by posting his 95 Theses, and Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The
Prince and The Discourses. The major change was lowering the goals of government from Aristotle’s
Ideal to a new, more basic form of government. This new government was characterized by equality
democracy, open society (freedom of speech, the press, and expression), and refining the goals of
government to be the securing of mere life goods (necessities: food, water, security) rather than good life
goods (goods that make us happy).
Two realism identities Political Philosophy 3
Realism 1: Don’t aim high because it is a waste of time and impossible.
Realism 2: It’s not impossible to aim high, but it is dangerous, because you are jeopardizing near
Had another factor not taken into account by classical philosophers: Christianity. Morality and good
character now not only separate the virtuous and nonvirtuous, but the saved and the damned. The Church
is the owner and dictator of virtue, with an aristocratic government. This brings forth two governments.
The Church and the State. This damages basic political goods of peace and security.
State of Nature should decide our philosophy on life. State of nature was a “war of all against all,”
“solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
He has 2 premises:
1. Christian view of the world (god looking out for us) is false.
2. Human beings are selfish, unsocial and apolitical. Cooperating with others is unnatural.
Three arguments for world being all against all
In order to live, people need mere goods. All in competition for our scarce goods. (Economic
2. Fear and distrust
Were in competition with another, but have reason and think ahead. We know we’re in competition with
others.. This leads to distrust. When we display that we have goods, someone else may try to take them.
Every time we get what we need, we are more in danger. This leads to attacking others to get them before
they get me. (Preemptive strike)
The motive for attacking others is taking their goods, or because you think as soon as someone else sees