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PHIL101: Introduction to Philosophy

Unit 3: Political Philosophy   Political philosophy deals with questions about how human societies ought to be governed or how they ought to govern themselves. In this unit, we will read selections from one major political thinker from the East - Confucius, as well as five major political philosophers from the West - Plato, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and John Rawls. Despite vast differences between them, each of these thinkers bases his political philosophy on some understanding of human nature. How one should govern or how the state ought to be organized depends on the basic characteristics of its members and also on the characteristics of its rulers. For Confucius, the leader is a virtuous human being, an idea that resonates with the previous Unit 3 material on ethics (especially the theory of Aristotle.) For Plato, it is philosophers’ natural inclination to become intimately acquainted with truth that makes them the perfect rulers. For Machiavelli, it is the intrinsic tendency for human beings to be immoral and self-interested that demands a strategic and sometimes brutal ruler. For Hobbes, it is an even more primal animosity of human beings toward one another that leads people to band together for mutual survival. John Stuart Mill, in the work On Liberty, holds that the individual freedom of expression and thought must be maintained and that a “tyranny of the majority” must be avoided in life under government rule. Marx’s political philosophy stems from his conviction that human beings are alienated from their basic nature by capitalist societies, while John Rawls describes a distribution of justice, goods, and liberties among the various members of society.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 38.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 3.25 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 11 hours ☐    Subunit 3.2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2.2: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3: 5 hours ☐    Subunit 3.3.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.3: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.4: 6.25 hours ☐    Subunit 3.4.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.4.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.4.3: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 3.4.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.4.5: 1 hour

☐    Assessment #4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.5: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.6: 5.5 hours ☐    Subunit 3.6.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.6.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.6.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.6.4: 1 hour

☐    Assessment #5: 2 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
- Explain how one’s philosophical view of human nature shapes one’s view of the ideal society and political systems; - Compare and contrast the Western philosophical tradition’s primary concerns within the subfield of political philosophy with Confucianism’s primary philosophical concerns; - Describe the principal tenets as well as the perceived strengths and weaknesses of major forms of governance, including monarchy, oligarchy, anarchy, republic, democracy, and tyranny; and - Explain the philosophical critique of capitalist economic systems and industrialized modes of production.  

3.1 Confucius and Virtuous Leadership   3.1.1 Outline of Confucius’s Political Philosophy   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Jeffrey Riegel’s “Confucius” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Jeffrey Riegel’s “Confucius” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and read the webpage about Confucius’s political philosophy. Despite the fact that we have categorized Confucius as a political philosopher, much of his doctrine also concerns ethics. Confucius provides a general description of the qualities of the “superior man,” which serves as a model for all persons, not just rulers.  As you read about Aristotle’s ethics in the next unit, keep Confucius’s emphasis on humanity and virtue in mind.
 
Studying this reading should take approximately 45 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.2 A Sampling of Confucius’s Doctrines   - Reading: CUNY Brooklyn: Confucius’s *“The Analects, Excerpts”* Link: CUNY Brooklyn: Confucius’s “The Analects, Excerpts” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and read this webpage. Confucius’s sayings are designed for use in everyday practice. To that end, they are concise and memorable. With respect to the aphorisms on government, reflect on how Confucius’s instructions differ in intent from those of Machiavelli. The Analects were compiled by Confucius’s disciples during the fifth century B.C. and were adopted as the official philosophy of imperial China during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.).
 
Studying this resource should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.3 Understanding Confucius’s Political Philosophy   - Lecture: iTunes U: University of Utah: Dr. Eric Hutton: “The Way of Confucius” Link: iTunes U: University of Utah: Dr. Eric Hutton: “The Way of Confucius” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to #3 and then listen to this lecture (approximately 61 minutes), which places Confucius’s political philosophy in historical context and outlines its basic principles.
 
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.4 Discussion of Confucius’s Philosophy and The Analects   - Reading: Penn State University: Gregory Smits’ “Early Confucianism” Link: Penn State University: Gregory Smits’ “Early Confucianism” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this chapter. Pay particular attention to the notions of dao (way), xiao (filial piety), li (social customs), and junzi (superior person). Also be sure to read excerpts from the Analects toward the bottom of the page, especially those pertaining to the superior person and to government. 

 Reading this chapter and the excerpts from the Analects should take
approximately 2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted for educational
purposes as described
[here](http://www.oercommons.org/courses/topics-in-pre-modern-chinese-history),
and the original version can be found
[here](http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/g/j/gjs4/textbooks/PM-China/ch3.htm).
Please note that this material may not be used for other purposes
without the consent of the copyright holder.

3.2 Plato and the Ideal State   3.2.1 Outline of Plato’s Political Philosophy   - Reading: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. W. J. Korab-Karpowicz’s “Plato’s Political Philosophy” Link: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. W. J. Korab-Karpowicz’s “Plato’s Political Philosophy” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage about Plato’s political philosophy. One of the remarkable features of Plato’s philosophy is the degree to which all its components are integrated. This reading demonstrates how his views on how an ideal state ought to be governed follow directly from his views on the nature of reality. It is also important to note that scholars disagree on whether Plato may be using his theory of the ideal state as an ironic commentary on political arrangements in his time; in other words, scholars debate whether he was sincere or ironic in recommending certain rules in the ideal Republic.

 Studying this reading should take approximately 2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.2 Rule by Philosopher Kings   - Reading: Plato: The Republic, “Book VI” and “Book VII” Links: Plato: The Republic, “Book VI” (PDF) and “Book VII” (PDF)
 
Also available in:
HTML (Book VI)
HTML (Book VII)

 Instructions: Read both articles. This set of readings returns us
to Plato’s *The Republic*. It takes the form of a dialogue between
Plato’s teacher (Socrates) and a number of interlocutors. These two
books present the most famous statements of Plato’s metaphysics -
usually called “the theory of forms.” Book VI focuses on his
“analogies of the sun” and the “divided line” which set up his
famous “allegory of the cave” in Book VII. Plato argues that it is
philosophers who have the best access to the forms (i.e., to
reality) and are therefore best suited to govern the state.  
    
 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

3.2.3 Understanding Plato’s Theory of Philosopher Kings   - Reading: CliffsNotes: Republic by Plato - Summary and Analysis: “Book VI” and “Book VII” Links: CliffsNotes: Republic by Plato - Summary and Analysis: “Book VI” (HTML) and “Book VII” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read these webpages, ensuring to click the “Next
Page” link to read the summary and analysis modules for all sections
of Books VI and VII of *The Republic* (6 pages total). After reading
these modules, you should be able to explain why Plato believes
philosophers should govern the state. Notice that Plato’s arguments
implicitly criticize the prevailing form of government in fifth
century Athens: democracy.   
    
 Studying these readings should take approximately 2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

3.2.4 Plato as Totalitarian? The Criticisms of Karl Popper   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Eric Brown’s “Plato’s Ethics and Politics in The Republic:” “4. Politics, Part One: The Ideal Constitution” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Eric Brown’s “Plato’s Ethics and Politics in The Republic:” “4. Politics, Part One: The Ideal Constitution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Section 4 (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4). In this entry, Dr. Brown provides a general overview of philosophical critiques of Plato’s ideal society from dystopian, anticommunist, feminist, and antitotalitarian perspectives.
 
Studying this reading should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3 Niccolò Machiavelli and Political Power   3.3.1 Outline of Machiavelli’s Political Philosophy   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Cary Nederman: “Niccolò Machiavelli” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Cary Nederman: “Niccolò Machiavelli” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read sections 1 - 5 for an understanding of the basic concepts of Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli’s approach to political philosophy differs markedly from Plato’s in that instead of asking “How would the ideal state be governed?” he asks “How does a political leader gain and keep control of the state?” This pragmatic approach undercuts abstract deliberation by focusing on the realities political leaders faced during the Renaissance.
 
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3.3.2 Machiavelli’s Pragmatic View of Political Power   - Reading: Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince: “Chapter XV,” “Chapter XVI,” “Chapter XVII,” and “Chapter XXI” Links: Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince“Chapter XV”, (PDF) “Chapter XVI”, (PDF) “Chapter XVII”, (PDF) and “Chapter XXI” (PDF)
 
Also available in:
HTML (Chapter XV)
HTML (Chapter XVI)
HTML (Chapter XVII)
HTML (Chapter XXI)
 
Instructions: Read these chapters from Machiavelli’s famous manual on how to get and keep political power. Machiavelli composed this work in 1513. Unlike Plato, Machiavelli had personal experience as a politician, and his work marks a shift from political idealism to political realism. Machiavelli sanctions a great deal of duplicity between the prince’s public and private personas - as well as some forms of cruelty - as means to an end.
 
Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

3.3.3 Understanding Machiavelli’s Political Philosophy   - Lecture: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics: “Machiavelli - The Prince” Link: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classic: “Machiavelli - The Prince” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to #15 and then listen to the lecture (approximately 14 minutes) about Machiavelli’s political philosophy. Dr. Warburton provides historical context about the governance of Renaissance city-states and explains how Machiavelli’s view arises from his unflattering conception of human nature.
 
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3.3.4 Machiavelli’s Relation to His Predecessors   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Steven B. Smith: “New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli, The Prince (Chapters 13 - 26)” Link: Yale University: Dr. Steven B. Smith: “New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli, The Prince (Chapters 13 - 26)” (Adobe Flash) (QuickTime) (MP3)
 
Instructions: Click the Flash link and then listen to the lecture (approximately 44 minutes). It explains the ways in which Machiavelli’s thought and vocabulary were constructed in reaction to the prevailing Platonic and biblical political discourse of his day.
 
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3.4 The Social Contract   3.4.1 Outline of Hobbes’s Political Philosophy of the Social Contract   - Lecture: iTunes U: University of Oxford: Dr. Peter Millican: “Thomas Hobbes: The Monster of Malmesbury” Link: iTunes U: University of Oxford: Dr. Peter Millican: “Thomas Hobbes: The Monster of Malmesbury” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to #7 and then listen to the lecture (approximately 12 minutes). It introduces Thomas Hobbes, originator of the idea of the social contract and, by extension, the notion of a constitutional republic.
 
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  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Sharon A. Lloyd and Dr. Susanne Sreedhar: “Hobbes’s Moral and Political Philosophy” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Sharon A. Lloyd and Dr. Susanne Sreedhar: “Hobbes’s Moral and Political Philosophy” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the webpage. This reading provides an outline of Hobbes’s major contributions to political philosophy, including the important concepts of the state of nature and the social contract.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.2 The State of Nature and the Social Contract   - Reading: Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan: “Chapter XIII” and “Chapter XIV” Links: Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan: “Chapter XIII” (PDF) and “Chapter XIV” (PDF)
 
Also available in:

[HTML](http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/hobbes/leviathan-c.html)
(Chapter XIII)  

[HTML](http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/hobbes/leviathan-c.html#CHAPTERXIV)
(Chapter XIV)  
    
 Instructions: Read these chapters from Hobbes’s *Leviathan*. In
spite of his archaic prose, try to keep track of his progression
from the idea of the state of nature to the idea of the contract. In
this text from 1651, Hobbes argues that political societies are the
result of an agreement that human beings enter into in order to
ensure their mutual survival. His article proceeds from the premise
that without such a “contract,” human beings would destroy one
another in a war of all against all.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

3.4.3 Hobbes in Historical and Intellectual Context   - Lecture: iTunes U: Open University: Dr. Jon Pike and Dr. Quentin Skinner: “Hobbes” Link: iTunes U: Open University: Dr. Jon Pike and Dr. Quentin Skinner: “Hobbes” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to #5 and then listen to the conversation (approximately 53 minutes) between two eminent philosophers on the “contextual approach” to Hobbes’s theory of the social contract. Notice how Hobbes’s conception of the social contract relies on his conceptions of “natural persons” (agents capable of representing themselves) and “artificial persons” (agents of the state).
 
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3.4.4 Locke and the Social Contract   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Steven B. Smith: “Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (1 - 5)” Link:Yale University: Dr. Steven B. Smith: “Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (1 - 5)” (Adobe Flash) (QuickTime) (MP3)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and then watch the lecture. It explains how Locke takes the previous notions of social order propounded by Machiavelli and Hobbes to come up with a more positive notion of a social contract.
 
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.5 Rousseau and the Social Contract   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Steven B. Smith: “Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Social Contract, I - II” Link: Yale University: Dr. Steven B. Smith: “Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Social Contract, I - II” (Adobe Flash) (QuickTime) (MP3)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and then watch the lecture. It explains how Rousseau’s notion of “general will” sets the stage for a more democratic and trusting social order and how he refutes portions of the previous notions of social order propounded by Machiavelli and Hobbes and aligns himself more closely with Locke.
 
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's “Assessment #4” Link: The Saylor Foundation's “Assessment #4” (PDF)

    Instructions: Click on the link above and follow the instructions to complete this assessment. You will address the similarities and differences between Plato’s, Machiavelli’s, and Hobbes’s theories of human nature and how each relates to political power. Check your responses against the Saylor Foundation’s “Answer Key.”
     
    Completing this assessment should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

3.5 John Stuart Mill and the Tyranny of the Majority   3.5.1 John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty"   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Iván Szelényi’s “Mill: Utilitarianism and Liberty” Link: Yale University: Dr. Iván Szelényi’s “Mill: Utilitarianism and Liberty” (Adobe Flash) (QuickTime) (MP3)

 Instructions: Click on the link above and then view the lecture
beginning at 27:00 minutes for the section on Mill. The video gives
a summary of John Stuart Mill’s political theory and the concept of
the Harm Principle. The Harm Principle holds that the government
should not intervene and stop unusual or unpopular activities unless
they harm others. Mill’s theory introduces many important concepts
that we still mention in political debates today, like the “tyranny
of the majority,” the “free market of ideas,” and the concept of
informed “consent.”  
    
 Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 30
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.5.2 John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism in Political Context   3.6 Karl Marx and the Alienation of Labor   3.6.1 Historical Background for Karl Marx   - Reading: Yale University: Dr. Ian Shapiro’s “The Moral Foundations of History: Lecture 9: The Marxian Challenge” Link: Yale University: Dr. Ian Shapiro’s “The Moral Foundations of History: Lecture 9: The Marxian Challenge” (Adobe Flash) (QuickTime) (MP3)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and watch this lecture. It gives an overview of the historical and economic context of Karl Marx’s thought. The lecture also gives comparisons between Marx and John Stuart Mill.
 
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.6.2 Marx’s Theory of Alienated Labor   - Reading: Karl Marx: The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844: “Estranged Labour” Link: Karl Marx: The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844: “Estranged Labour” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage. Although Marx can be difficult to read, the key to this text is simple: It hinges on Marx’s particular conception of human nature. Marx diagnoses the political situation of his day as intolerable because working conditions had estranged the people from their nature - or, as Marx says, their “species being.”

 Studying this reading should take approximately 2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

3.6.3 Understanding Marx’s Theory of Alienated Labor   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Iván Szelényi: “Marx’s Theory of Alienation” Link: Yale University: Dr. Iván Szelényi: “Marx’s Theory of Alienation” (Adobe Flash) (QuickTime) (MP3)

 Also available in:  

[PDF](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/PHIL101-3.4.3.pdf)  
    
 Instructions: Click the Flash link and then listen to the lecture
(approximately 48 minutes). It gives an overview of Marx’s analysis
of the phenomenon by which laborers become physically and
psychologically “separated” or “alienated” from the products that
they make. This theory, by which laborers no longer identify with
that which they spend their lives making, is a cornerstone of Marx’s
theory of human nature when inserted into a capitalist mode of
production.  
    
 Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1
hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The Library of Economics and Liberty: Dr. David Prychitko: “Marxism” Link: The Library of Economics and Liberty: Dr. David Prychitko: “Marxism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the webpage. It gives a nice overview of Marxist principles and explains why Marx conceived of industrial labor as fundamentally opposed to human nature.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.6.4 Understanding Rawls’s Theory of Justice   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Ian Shapiro’s The Moral Foundations of Politics: “Lecture 16: The Rawlsian Social Contract” Link: Yale University: Dr. Ian Shapiro’s The Moral Foundations of Politics: “Lecture 16: The Rawlsian Social Contract” (JWPlayer)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and watch this lecture. It gives an overview of Rawls’s theory of distributive justice. Rawls believes that people would, given basic rationality, agree to specific moral principles, including maximizing individual liberty until one’s liberty encroaches on someone else’s liberty, and the possibility of social mobility in the context of economic difference.
 
Watcing this video and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Assessment #5” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Assessment #5” (PDF)

    Instructions: Click on the link above and follow the instructions to complete the assessment. It will require you to demonstrate your understanding of Marx’s political philosophy and interpret the meaning of Confucius’s aphorisms. Check your responses against the Saylor Foundation’s “Answer Key.”
     
    Completing this assessment should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.