Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

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Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 8th, 2018, 2:27 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
August 8th, 2018, 11:05 am
Georgeanna:

Here's another freebie starter from Open Yale:

https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/ ... /lecture-1
The lecturer, Steven B. Smith, is a graduate of the University of Chicago, the seat of the movement in political philosophy begun by Leo Strauss. He is the author of “Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism”. From the publisher’s (University of Chicago) website:

Interest in Leo Strauss is greater now than at any time since his death, mostly because of the purported link between his thought and the political movement known as neoconservatism. Steven B. Smith, though, surprisingly depicts Strauss not as the high priest of neoconservatism but as a friend of liberal democracy—perhaps the best defender democracy has ever had. Moreover, in Reading Leo Strauss, Smith shows that Strauss’s defense of liberal democracy was closely connected to his skepticism of both the extreme Left and extreme Right.

I agree with this assessment. It is what I was getting at when I said Strauss is a polarizing figure.

I have not listened to the lecture yet, but will. Comments to follow.
Good to hear of the background and thanks for explanation.
Also in providing substantial quotes from the transcripts - much more informative than my quick, reactive notes.
Much more to come...

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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Fooloso4 » August 8th, 2018, 4:46 pm

Georgeanna:
However, I was a bit puzzled by the final 'all-important' one:
'Quid sit deus - what is God ? Does he and what are the implications for human obligations as citizens.
I think it is for the simple reason that God still plays an important or even fundamental role in the lives of many.
I look forward to reading more. I do hope that God doesn't get in the way.
One look at the power of the Christian Right shows that God as a political force cannot be avoided.

I do not think, however, that as a skeptic he will make appeals to God . I do not know how “impious” he is though. As he defines it:
To be impious is to disrespect those things a person or a society cares most deeply about.
What counts as disrespect? Is it disrespect to question or argue against or reject the beliefs of others?

If he addresses matters of religion his response is likely to be Kantian in so far as reason cannot be determinate in matters of faith, Socratic in that justice stands above custom and practice, and perhaps Nietzschean in that religion is to be the handmaid of reason.

Burning ghost
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Burning ghost » August 9th, 2018, 1:46 am

For the present day I’d say Schiller and Nietzsche are deeply important - plus Jung, but it’s not really philosophy/politics (more so with concepts of “god” and wotnot)
AKA badgerjelly

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 9th, 2018, 3:39 am

Burning ghost wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 1:46 am
For the present day I’d say Schiller and Nietzsche are deeply important - plus Jung, but it’s not really philosophy/politics (more so with concepts of “god” and wotnot)

I know of Friedrich Schiller only from my readings of Goethe who is for me an all-round great.
It would be useful if you could expand in what sense you consider him ( and others ) deeply important.

Nietzsche, clearly of great influence - but I admit to not having read in any great detail. However, my impression is that his focus was not so much on politics. Then again, I come from a position of ignorance. I guess any philosopher interested in the human must necessarily bring in hierarchy and issues of power. All related to political systems and regimes.

Carl Jung and Freud, I read a little of, a long time ago during brief psychology studies. I've forgotten most of it but may have absorbed more than I think I have.

'Concepts of 'god' and wotnot' - as related to human behaviour in accepting or being persuaded to a certain worldview ? Issues of self and identity ? Or what ? Further explanation would be appreciated.
Thanks.

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 9th, 2018, 3:44 am

Fooloso4 - I will be going at a slower pace re the Lectures and accompanied Readings. However, I would still love for you to continue to break down the transcripts into manageable and relevant chunks, even if I'm not there yet.
It helps tremendously.

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 9th, 2018, 3:51 am

I have to remind myself that one of my main concerns is as stated in the OP:

'What and How any countermeasures can be taken to provide real education and understanding.'

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chewybrian
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by chewybrian » August 9th, 2018, 4:10 am

"A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind", Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11136

"Animal Farm", by George Orwell:

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100011.txt

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 9th, 2018, 5:00 am

Thanks for links. Can you help me understand their particular importance to you ? Why you chose them ?

Rousseau is also covered in the Open Yale course, previously mentioned. Animal Farm, like most, I read at High School but would probably get more out of it now.

-----

Open Yale has another political science course entitled:
'Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform'

It uses ideas from biological evolution: analogous with organisms struggling with survival in nature. Concerned with specific objective e.g. poverty alleviation and development of potential in every child.

https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science

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chewybrian
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by chewybrian » August 9th, 2018, 7:11 am

Georgeanna wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 5:00 am
Thanks for links. Can you help me understand their particular importance to you ? Why you chose them ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n19GVGtBAUE

Both of these works point to the dark reality of the cyclical nature of politics and our incredible ability to ignore history and fall into the same traps yet again.

Rebellion promises freedom, yet quickly imposes 'necessary' hardships to be endured in the name of a future utopia. Power corrupts, and even leaders who began with good intentions are likely to be swayed. Propaganda allows failures of leadership to be turned to the advantage of the leader. Those who point out failures of leadership are branded traitors to the revolution. Such distractions allow the leader to take more power in the name of security, until a point where the leader becomes a bigger threat to the security of his subjects than the forces from which he is supposedly protecting them. Thus, the need for rebellion again rises to the surface, and the process is repeated.

Rousseau's works helped to inspire the American and French revolutions, where we are trying to break the cycle with division of power and checks and balances. We still have these minor rebellions, though, where we switch back and forth between parties, make and then undo important legislation. It's very ugly and inefficient, and still full of corruption. But, we do have some important freedoms, and we've made some progress on civil rights, for example.

"The Rebel" by Camus is one more great work with similar themes.

http://api.ning.com/files/tFu4DrQFBvHrD ... tCamus.pdf

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 9th, 2018, 9:58 am

When I studied philosophy briefly and some time ago, Rousseau didn't capture my imagination and I think I was dismissive of him for whatever reason.
Thanks for describing the positive effects of his work in the world of political change.
I do remember Hobbes and the social contract - his catchy phrase that in the state of nature, without political order and law, our lives would be ' solitary, poor, nasty and short'.
I think there are different versions of the 'social contract' probably reflecting and reflected in the ongoing disagreements and tensions as to which political order or regime is best.
And yes, the continual switch back between opposing parties is not conducive to long-term efficiencies and progress.
It's like one step forward, five back.
Hopefully, the checks and balances will hold some of the more powerful, dictator types from totally creating havoc.
Despite protestations of the overall aim of peace - guess who has his eyes on the prize - we seem to be heading for global unrest. Good news for the gun merchants...

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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Fooloso4 » August 9th, 2018, 1:27 pm

Some comments on the quotes from chapter 1.

First paragraph. From chapter 2:

Smith argues against the notion of a world government. The universal endangers the particular, that is, the way of life of the citizens of a regime and:
Politics only takes place within the context of the particular.
What is the particular? The particular refers to a way of life. Is the particular just another name for nationalism, tribalism, ‘us’ and ‘them’?

Second paragraph. From chapter 4:

Plato and Aristotle argue that the best regime is the one in which the best rule. The problem is that what is best “in speech” (Plato’s Republic is city is a city in speech), may not be what is best for us in practice. Smith emphasizes that:
“political philosophy is an imminently practical discipline (chapter 3).
Plato hints at the problem when Glaucon (one of the participants in the dialogue, and Plato’s older brother) complains that the food Socrates describes as most suitable in the best city is fit for pigs. He wants some comforts such as couches and tables and relishes and desserts. Socrates acquiesces and makes the city less austere. What is simply best in speech, that is, the ideal, is not what is suitable for human beings. It is a mistake to see the Republic as a utopian model for an actual city. The demands it makes on us, for example, its breeding program, is as Glaucon might say, fit for pigs.

In addition, as the dialogue progresses, it becomes clear that the best have no interest in ruling. Smith returns to this problem at the end of week 2:
How are we to understand Socrates’s claim that the pursuit of justice requires him to turn away from public to private life?
Another problem is that in actual regimes the best are not simply best, but best relative to others. In the worst regimes they are the best of the worst. But here we must ask best in what sense. It may be they are the best at being the worst, the worst of the worst.

As a practical matter the small closed society is not a matter of choice unless we choose to expatriate to live I know not where. But this does not mean we should not think about the advantages and disadvantages in comparison to a more cosmopolitan order.

And here, considering the problem of immigration, we see how relevant these old white guys who have been dead for over two thousand years still are.

Third paragraph. From chapter 4:

The question of the relation between the best regime or the good regime, that is what is at issue above.

As to the question of what function the best regime plays in political science; what seems best serves as a model for what the good regime should strive to be, keeping the cautions stated above in mind. We strive for what is best without having knowledge of what is best. Thus, skepticism (in the zetetic sense - inquiry motivated and guided by knowledge of our ignorance as to the truth of the matter) and the necessity of living the examined life

Fourth and fith paragraphs. From chapter 4:

The good citizen is not the same as the good human being. The good citizen is regime specific. What is honored and rewarded in one regime is not the same as what is honored and rewarded in another. Even in the good regime there is an irreconcilable tension between the good citizen and the good human being. Even in Plato’s Republic the philosopher must be compelled to return to the cave in order to rule.

From this vantage point we can reexamine the rejection of the universal order. That politics is always about the particular should not be construed as a form of provincialism or maintaining the status quo. The good human being is not defined by the particular. The good human being is not regime specific. I am not sure where Smith is going with this and so I will leave it there for now for you to follow where it may lead.

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 4:22 am

Thanks Fooloso4 for the above. I will get back to this later.

When I started this Open Yale course, I did wonder why the Lectures were broken down into Chapters. However, I have since noted that Prof Steven Smith has written a book 'Political Philosophy' which follows the online course.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/135 ... philosophy

Again, for anyone interested to know which texts are being used, there is a list and description of the course syllabus, here:

https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/plsc-114

In short, the themes covered:
1. The polis experience ( Plato, Aristotle) - lectures 1-9
2. The sovereign state ( Machiavelli, Hobbes) - Lectures 10 -14
3. Constitutional government ( Locke ) - Lectures 15 -17
4. Democracy ( Rousseau, Tocqueville ) - Lectures 18 - 23
5. In Defence of Politics ( references Kant, Bernard Crick, E.M. Foster, and Carl Schmitt ) - Lecture 24 Overview

I hope to now focus on this course to give me the basics - the core of further understanding.
The final chapter of the final lecture is entitled: ' Where Should the Study of Political Science Be Today ? Who Should Educate the Educators ?

I have always maintained that Education is Key. Especially early years learning. This is when children are deliberately separated according to religion, class or ability. Perhaps it is not possible to ban segregation or even home learning. However, at the very least, children should be taught critical thinking to see beyond their sometimes narrow view of life. I think of places in the world where young boys are still seen vilifying females.
It is all they know...

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 4:35 am

Having brought up the subject of females...I might have to hunt around for some who might have contributed to this subject...

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 5:03 am

Top list of female political scientists:
https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-fema ... /reference

Oh, come on - never heard of most of them
Perhaps we should be looking at who are heads of state in all the countries in all the world...
Qualities of statesmanship or leadership in whatever regime - dictatorship or democracy...
Pick a role model or specimen who the ancients might approve/disapprove of...and state the reasons why !
Comparative politics - hmmm.

http://hipporeads.com/political-science ... r-problem/
Is it true that the higher contribution of males in this sector is down to the popularity of quantitative analyses; females preferring qualitative interviews or a mix of both ?

Sorry, I digress...but nevertheless am still aware that we are still heavily reliant on the male point of view in philosophy. Perhaps a totally new way of politics is required - not about left or right, language of war - not about playing on and exacerbating the fears of the people - I think people are getting sick of it all. Why should predominantly rich, white, older males get to dictate our ways of life and the future of the planet.
Not to mention the narcissistic, mentally unsound, self-interested...

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chewybrian
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by chewybrian » August 10th, 2018, 5:17 am

Georgeanna wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 9:58 am
I do remember Hobbes and the social contract - his catchy phrase that in the state of nature, without political order and law, our lives would be ' solitary, poor, nasty and short'.
You forgot 'brutish':

Image

Rousseau was denying Hobbes' claim. He points out that such claims make the mistake of anachronism. You can't assume that life for primitive man was unbearable for him because it would be so for you. He says something like: "when speaking of savages, they talk of citizens".

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