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[POLS 1000] - Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (48 pages long!)


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1000
Professor
Martin Breaugh
Study Guide
Final

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York
POLS 1000
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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POLS 1000
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
Lecture - September 20th - Introduction
Why Must We Think Critically?
-Critical - not about the quality of the conclusion
-Being critical actually refers to a thinking process that aims to evaluate - does not refer to the
negative conclusion it could arrive at
-To be critical = evaluate
-This evaluation is based on the thinking process
-Variety of factors involved in analysis/thinking process - history, logic, observation, context,
coherence, relevance - e.g. film critic would need to know history of cinema, place a film in its
proper context
-Critical thinking is a skill, can only be learned through practice
-Common bond between literature and politics - desire for immortality, permits one to
transcend one’s mortal nature
-By engaging in politics, people leave traces of their existence - as does literature
Milan Kundera - Brno, Czechslovakia - 1929
-Distinction between ignorance and stupidity
-The Art of the Novel - The Jerusalem Address
-1985 - Kundera was awarded the Jerusalem Prize - prestigious literature prize
-The Novel and Europe - in this address, Kundera attempts to understand contributions of
certain novelists
-Gustave Flaubert - 19th century French novelist - Madame Bovary
-Dictionary of received ideas - collected cliches/fixed ideas of his time that were considered to
be intelligent/thoughtful
-Literary, philosophical, and economic importance of France in 19th century - the reign of the
bourgeois
-French Revolution - 1789 - allows the bourgeoisie to replace the aristocracy as a ruling class
in France - even before, French aristocracy was weak - bourgeoisie with the help of urban
poor and peasants, strip the aristocracy of its power - bourgeoisie takes over
-19th century - bourgeoisie will consolidate its new dominant political status
-Takes about 125 years to end French Revolution - quarrels resolved in 1914 with WWI
-Bourgeois - in second half of the Middle Ages, merchant class would settle outside of fortified
cities - area outside of city walls was known as a faubourg - became known as the bourgeois
- the merchant class, become capitalists in 19th century - expanding merchant class
becomes foundation upon which the institutions of modern Western world will be built
-Representative government for example - an institution - owes its existence partly to
expanding merchant class
-Merchant class - guiding social force of modernity
-Bourgeois reality remains our reality - established current society’s ideals
-Aim of the merchant is to make money - as a guiding social force, will extend this aim to all
aspects of contemporary life
-By the end of 19th century, bourgeoisie replaced aristocracy as a ruling class - class between
aristocratic values and bourgeois values - new set of values
Bourgeois Values
-Merit - “I earned it”
-Work - ties into merit - the source of all value - will allocate social prestige and wealth
-Reason - use of common sense
-Progress - changing
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POLS 1000
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
Aristocratic Values
-Birthright dictates where you are in society
-Leisure - social parasites, engaged in leisure activities, work was something other people did
-Folly - eg. Palace of Versailles - foolishness of aristocratic classes - not rational to build
something so lavish - doing things because you can versus because you should
-Tradition - king and church tradition
Zeitgeist - spirit of the time
-Stupidity - spirit of the time in the 19th century
-Before 19th century, stupidity was used interchangeably with ignorance
-Ignorance - consequence of lacking the knowledge/awareness
-Stupidity - defined by Kundera - the non-thought of received ideas - quasi-universal
acceptance of certain ideas/opinions that circulate in modern society - an accepted opinion,
that has not necessarily been reflected on by those who hold it
-Received idea - an idea given to us - agreed upon without thinking about it/originating it
-Kundera - compiled a dictionary of these ideas/opinions that dominated 19th century France
-Ignorance - the absence of knowledge, can be easily corrected - yet Stupidity - stupid ideas
not frowned upon by society, generally well accepted; stupidity will actually progress with
advancement of modern society - technology will encourage stupidity - e.g.. mass media,
social media, Internet - received ideas will circulate
-Received idea that all politicians are corrupt - not the case if you take a comparative
perspective
-Received idea of conspiracy theories - tendency to reduce complex situations to simple
answers - formidable reductions - but there are complex explanations
-In this class - a fight against ignorance and stupidity
-Received ideas distort our perception
Jorges Luis Borges - Buenos Aires - 1899
-Importance of abstraction for thought
-Funes the Memorias
-Story is about remembrance, memory
-To think, one must be able to distinguish between important ideas and secondary ideas -
Funes could not do this - was stuck with a memory only able to record details
-To think is to forget/put aside/abstract
-In order to think, we must forget/put aside unimportant aspects, and remember the important
ones
-To think is to generalize/abstract/etc.
-Difficulty is knowing what can be forgotten and what must be remembered
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