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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?
What is Politics?
Struggle to influence group decision-making
Resources (“power” or material goods)
Pressure to do something you would not
Power vs. Coercion vs. Influence vs.
Negative Power: “made to do”
Positive Power: “empowered to do”
Power vs. Authority
Constraint vs. Consent
Authority: legitimacy of rulers/rules
Subordination vs. Will
Authority: choose to obey
Both are linked
Explanation via an abstraction or model
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”
Big questions of political
What role does the state play in the lives of
What ought to be the ruling set of values &
○ Who decides these?
What roles do freedom, liberty, and justice
have in society?
How to define?
How should political conflicts be resolved?
Structure Of the Course
Ideologies (set of beliefs)
Classical (state centered)
Contemporary (beyond the state)
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.
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
State of nature not anarchic
○ Cooperation when preferences overlap
respect for others’ rights
No morality in the state of nature
Moral principles are learned
More on Locke
Individuals are rational rational law of
“natural law” based on reason
natural respect for “private property”
○ avoids fear & insecurity
Connection with IR Neoliberalism
True state no different from other
Hobbes & Locke wrong
○ social development?
Neither innately bad nor good
Driven by self-preservation & empathy
More on Rousseau
In nature, humans amoral
Begin to associate with others to
Adopt common moral standards (learned)
Free moral agents
○ Power of self-improvement (evolve)
Why Move Beyond the State of
○ Above all else
Any rule better than none
Humans must be controlled
State of nature preferred to arbitrary rule
Need for objectively judging violators of
○ cannot fairly judge their own case
Development leads beyond “nature”
Once out, organization necessary
○ Work towards common good
○ Bring out moral goodness