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In this Philosophy course, you will examine the theories of the great political philosophers from Plato through to Hobbes, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Marx, and into the great modern thinkers such as John Rawls and Habermas. In this philosophy course, you will learn about the nature of society, of the state, of government, of citizens and the interaction between them all.

This beginners philosophy course will present you with the major political philosophies - including liberalism, social democracy, the welfare state, the New Right and socialism. The current political and economic crises of society today are also discussed, as well as theories for their resolution.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this political philosophy course, you should be able to:

  • consider and evaluate the views of the most influential political philosophers in relation to the nature of society, the state and the government
  • use and apply key philosophical concepts, especially in the areas of liberalism, social democracy, the welfare state, the New Right and socialism
  • think about the importance of political philosophy in assessing current political and economic crises of society today and postulate theories for their resolution.

Who is this political philosophy course for?

This philosophy course is for anyone interested in using critical thinking and logical analysis to understand how societies are structured and ruled. If you are open to concepts about politics, history and society and want to use the tools of logic and reason to help you understand our place within the world then this course is for you!

What will be covered in this political philosophy course?

Week 1 - Plato and the Philosophical state

  • On justice and what is good in society
  • What justice is not
  • On the relationship between justice and society
  • The knowledge of the good and the wisdom
  • On justice and the structure of society
  • The need for wisdom in a good society

Week 2 - Thomas Hobbes & John Locke on the social contract

  • The terrible condition of humans in their natural state
  • The nature of the totalitarian state
  • Further analysis and key internal objections to Hobbes theory
  • Locke's account of the natural state of humans
  • The controversial right to private property
  • Locke's argument for representative democracy

Week 3 - Rousseau on the general will and real democracy

  • Democracy and the equal worth of persons
  • The nature of self-determination
  • Humans in the state of nature
  • The social contract and individual rights
  • The importance of direct democracy in determining the general will

Week 4 - John Stuart Mill on liberalism and freedom from state tyranny

  • Representative Democracy & its problems
  • Representation by parties
  • John Stuart Mill and the liberal critique of the state

Week 5 - Karl Marx & John Maynard Keynes

  • Marx's concept of human nature
  • Inequality & human suffering
  • Marx's four forms of alienation
  • Alienation and the capitalist state
  • Keynes on the rise of the welfare state

Week 6 - Immanuel Kant & John Rawls

  • Kant on respect for persons and human rights
  • John Rawls on social justice and equity in the modern state

Week 7 - Habermas on the crises in the modern state

  • Habermas on political crisis in the state
  • The importance of communication to being human
  • Overcoming alienation & achieving freedom

About your tutor

Dr Andrew Theophanous has a B Litt in Philosophy from Oxford University and a PhD in Philosophy from Melbourne University. Andrew has lectured at universities in the United States and Melbourne. He is the author of three books including Understanding Social Justice: An Australian Perspective. He has published more than 20 articles in Philosophy and Social and Political Theory. Andrew delivers his courses as lectures and encourages students to participate in group discussions and debates. Andrew is a passionate teacher of Philosophy and believes the wisdom in Philosophical thought should be accessible to everyone.

This course has no current classes. Please join our waitlist and we will notify you when we have places available. Join waitlist for Philosophy Course: The Great Political Philosophers

This course has no current classes. Please join our waitlist and we will notify you when we have places available. Join waitlist for Philosophy Course: The Great Political Philosophers

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Course testimonials:

  • said: The tutor is an exceptionally good- so knowledgeable and can explain difficult concepts in an easy to understand manner.

  • said: The course was thoughtfully designed by a selection of relevant philosophers, and opposing conceptual view of human being. The tutor made complex and challenging philosophical concepts easily understandable for the class.

  • said: The tutor is truely the smartest most knowledgeable person I’ve come across and can teach incredibly well what he knows. He also is good at engaging the audience so that we can learn from each other. overall amazing experience.

  • said: A very stimulating and thought-provoking course with the tutor who was clearly passionate and highly knowledgeable about the subject matter. Recommended!

  • said: The Tutor was the best tutor ever: thought-provoking, highly knowledgeable, passionate and fun. It’s my second philosophy class with him and I’ll book for a third one today.

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