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Learn thinking and philosophical skills with our Philosophy Courses in Sydney.

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 course, you will learn about the nature of society, of the state, of government, of citizens and the interaction between them all.

The 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.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will 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.

Ideal for

This 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!

Course content

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 human 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 & it's 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 alientation
  • 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 discussion and debate. 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:A very stimulating and thought-provoking course with Andrew Theopanous who was clearly passionate and highly knowledgeable about the subject matter. Recommended!

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

  • said:Course content excellent. Very good coverage of range of philosophers linked well to theme. Complicated topics presented in manner that everyone could understand. Great to have Tutor (Andrew) with lifetime passion for philosophy and high academic qualifications able to engage, challenge and motivate us to learn more!

  • said:The teacher's enthusiasm for the subject was great and contagious!!! 10 out of 10

  • said:Being able to converse with people who may not have the same ideas or thoughts as you. To understand what political philosophy is all about.

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