Lecture 1 -power, theory, & overview

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  • 1. Lecture 1:
  • 2. Tips for getting the most out of this course:  Keep an open mind  Critique an argument based on: ○ Logically consistent? ○ Factually correct? ○ Sufficient evidence? ○ Better explanation? ○ Quality of the argument’s assumptions?
  • 3. What is Politics?  Struggle to influence group decision-making  Resources (“power” or material goods)
  • 4. Power  Pressure to do something you would not have done  Power vs. Coercion vs. Influence vs. Authority  Negative Power: “made to do”  Positive Power: “empowered to do”
  • 5. Power vs. Authority  Constraint vs. Consent  Authority: legitimacy of rulers/rules  Subordination vs. Will  Authority: choose to obey  Both are linked <back>
  • 6. Theory  Explanation via an abstraction or model  Why use?  What constitutes “good” theory?  What is your goal? ○ Example: Model Airplane  Connected to facts  Normative theory vs. empirical theory ○ “humans are good” vs. “humans inclined towards cooperative behavior”
  • 7. Big questions of political theory?  What role does the state play in the lives of individuals?  What ought to be the ruling set of values & institutions? ○ Who decides these?
  • 8. Questions continued  What roles do freedom, liberty, and justice have in society?  How to define?  How should political conflicts be resolved?
  • 9. Structure Of the Course  Ideas (concepts)  Ideologies (set of beliefs)  Classical (state centered)  Contemporary (beyond the state)
  • 10. The “State of Nature”  What is it?  Anarchy before the state (pre-political)  Gets at basic human nature  Why is it important?  Degree of human autonomy  Degree of state control ○ Justifies govt.
  • 11. Thomas Hobbes  Motivations: desires, passions, & fear  No ultimate “good” or morality  Without government, all against all  “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”  Fear drives aggression ○ State of war  Connection with IR Realism
  • 12. John Locke  State of nature not anarchic  Pursue self-interest ○ Cooperation when preferences overlap  respect for others’ rights  No morality in the state of nature  Moral principles are learned
  • 13. More on Locke  Individuals are rational  rational law of nature  “natural law” based on reason  natural respect for “private property” ○  avoids fear & insecurity  Connection with IR Neoliberalism
  • 14. Jean-Jacques Rousseau  True state no different from other mammals  Hobbes & Locke wrong ○ social development?  Neither innately bad nor good  Driven by self-preservation & empathy
  • 15. More on Rousseau  In nature, humans amoral  Begin to associate with others to increase efficiency  Adopt common moral standards (learned)  Free moral agents ○ Power of self-improvement (evolve)
  • 16. Why Move Beyond the State of Nature?  Hobbes:  ORDER! ○ Above all else  Any rule better than none  Humans must be controlled
  • 17. Beyond (cont)  Locke:  State of nature preferred to arbitrary rule  Need for objectively judging violators of “natural law” ○ cannot fairly judge their own case  Increase efficiency
  • 18. Beyond (cont)  Rousseau:  Development leads beyond “nature”  Once out, organization necessary ○ Work towards common good ○ Bring out moral goodness