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Ancient Political Philosophy Essay

What is Philosophy? The Central Questions of Philosophy – Political Philosophy • Value – Ethics (Good, Evil, Right, Wrong, Justice) • Political Philosophy – Aesthetics (Beauty) • Reality – Metaphysics (Cosmology, Ontology) • Knowledge – Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge) PHI 7100 History of Philosophy: The Classical Philosophers ©2013 Richard Legum – all rights reserved 1 What is Philosophy? Political Philosophy Some central questions of Political Philosophy: • What ought the relationship between a person and society (government) be? • What does society owe its citizens? – Safety (Protection)? Education? Health Care? A Job?

• What do the citizens owe society? – Pay taxes? All their possessions? Serve in the military? • What is the just form of government? PHI 7100 History of Philosophy: The Classical Philosophers ©2013 Richard Legum – all rights reserved 2 PHI 7100 Richard Legum, Ph. D. 1 8. The Central Questions of Philosophy Political Philosophy 7/8/2013 The Central Questions of Philosophy – Political Philosophy Plato The state is the individual writ large (The state is the same as an individual, but on a larger scale) • Three Parts of the Soul – Rational (reason) – Spirited (emotional – defender/enforcer) – Appetitive (emotional – driven by basic desires).

PHI 7100 History of Philosophy: The Classical Philosophers ©2013 Richard Legum – all rights reserved 3 The Central Questions of Philosophy – Political Philosophy Plato • Three kinds of the citizens – Gold – Those possessing reason (Wisdom/Knowledge) – philosophers – Silver – The enforcers of the law – the guardians/soldiers – Bronze – The craftsman, merchants, farmers, etc. • The Republic is the Utopia – Teleology – The goal of the state is to achieve harmony • The gold people, The Philosopher King (the one who knows best) , should rule PHI 7100 History of Philosophy: The Classical Philosophers ©2013 Richard Legum – all rights reserved 4.

PHI 7100 Richard Legum, Ph. D. 2 8. The Central Questions of Philosophy Political Philosophy 7/8/2013 The Central Questions of Philosophy – Political Philosophy Aristotle • The city (polis) is the natural political “community” or “partnership“ • The aim of the city is to allow citizens the possibility to live a good life, and to perform beautiful acts • Justice is having a constitution (a social contract of sorts) supporting the accomplishment of these goals PHI 7100 History of Philosophy: The Classical Philosophers ©2013 Richard Legum – all rights reserved 5 The Central Questions of Philosophy – Political Philosophy Aristotle.

• Goals of the state are much greater for Aristotle than they were for Social Contract Theory of the Renaissance (Thomas Hobbbes Leviathan (1651), John Locke Two Treatises of Government (1689), Jean Jacques Rosseau The Social Contract (1762) ) – in the pre-government state (pre-social contract) – the state of nature– people fear of violent death, unstable economic relationships, losing their property – The government arises from a Social Contract for the purpose of protecting the citizens PHI 7100 History of Philosophy: The Classical Philosophers ©2013 Richard Legum – all rights reserved 6 PHI 7100 Richard Legum, Ph. D. 3


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