Political Thought

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Slides for the introductory session of an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

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  • Learning Objectives: 1.) To arrive at a clearer understanding of what political thought is all about. 2.) To better discern the differences between political thought, political philosophy, political science, political theory and political ideology. 3.) To appreciate the political thought as a subject with practical relevance. Note: much of the material in this presentation is derived from Leo Strauss’ work, What is Political Philosophy? (And Other Studies) . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
  • Political Thought

    1. 1. POLITICAL THOUGHT Introduction: What is Political Thought?
    2. 2. Distinctions <ul><li>Political Thought </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The reflection on, or exposition of, political ideas .” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indifferent to the distinction between opinion and knowledge </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Political Philosophy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Concerned with the attempt to replace opinion about the nature of political things by knowledge of the nature of political things </li></ul></ul>Distinctions (cont’d)
    4. 4. Distinctions (again) <ul><li>Political Science </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constitutes that body of knowledge about political things </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attempts to arrive at knowledge about political things </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Political Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Systematic body of principles relating to the origin , form , behavior and purposes of the state and upon which its political system operates.” </li></ul></ul>Distinctions (some more…)
    6. 6. <ul><li>Political Ideology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Value or belief system accepted as fact or truth by some (large) group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mixture of factual and moral beliefs </li></ul></ul>Distinctions (…and more)
    7. 7. Summary POL THOUGHT POL SCI POL THEORY POL PHILO POL IDEOLOGY
    8. 8. Why Study Political Thought? <ul><li>“ Political thought…purports…to arrive at an understanding of politics which will be true to men’s experience of political activity, and which will elucidate the place of politics within human life and the criteria appropriate for making judgments about it.” </li></ul>- Margaret Canovan Professor of Political Thought Keele University

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