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Chapter 3

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 1150
Michael Szala

Chapter 3 Political Thought Philosophy and IdeologyLearning ObjectivesIn this lecture we willConsider the importance and place of political philosophy and ideologyExplain the relationship between theory and reality in political studiesIdentify the differences between the major political ideologiesUnderstand the history of the development of political thoughtIdentify many of the most important political philosophers of the past two and a half millennia Political ThoughtThis lecture builds on the previous one which dealt with conceptsAll of our major approaches concepts and ideas in politics are based in the development of political thoughtThought extends from philosophy Greek philosophia meaning love of knowledge Politics and PhilosophyInvestigations into nature the divine and human actionA search for understandingPolitical philosophy is about the ideas behind politics rather than the mechanics that drives itWhat is the significance of political events Return to ProgressPolitics is progressivePolitical philosophy seeks to understand politics in order to improve itNot utopian or idealistican ideally perfect society individual or approach aspiring to impractical perfectionRather a practical exercise to make the best possible society IdeologySet or system of ideas that form the basis of a political or economic system and provide guidance and direction for political leadershipJust about everything in political life todaydomestic and globalis influenced by ideologyIdeology frames government objectives and government actionIdeology differs widely and is often based on various traditions of thought History of Political ThoughtMany strands of political thoughtIslamic Chinese Japanese MesoAmerican Aboriginal for exampleModern political science rooted in western philosophy stemming from Greek antiquity The GreeksEarly thoughts about nature of politics the good life and the role of governmentSimple questions eg what is justice still not answered todayPlato what is right and how should government conduct itselfAristotle politics of the possiblehow to best achieve better political organization Renaissance ThoughtSecular approach to politicsNiccol Machiavelli See Box 33 examined the nature of power and leadershipThomas Hobbes See Box 34 looked at the nature and power of government to create stabilityModern Political ThoughtMuch of modern political ideas build on these eras of philosophy and take into account enlightenment and industrial thinkers like Adam Smith John Stuart Mill and Karl MarxSmith early liberal economic thinking
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