PHIL 41150: Political Philosophy
Dr. Robert Lane
Outline of Lecture Notes (Spring 2003)

Outline of Political Philosophy Lectures (PHIL 4115)

Robert Lane, UWG

Spring 2003


[Sections in red were omitted from lecture due to time constraints.]


Introduction & Background


[1.] What is Political Philosophy?

[1.1.] Governmental Control.

[1.2.] Normative vs. Descriptive Authority.




[1.] Might Makes Right (Republic I).

[1.1.] Thrasymachus' Position.

[1.2.] Socrates' First Criticism.

[1.3.] Socrates' Second Criticism.

[1.4.] The Rest of Book I.


[2.] The Structure of a Political Society (Republic II & III).

[2.1.] Justice in the City-State and in the Individual.

[2.2.] The Origin and Development of the Polis.


[3.] Justice of the Polis (Republic IV).

[3.1.] Wisdom, Bravery, Temperance.

[3.2.] Justice in the Polis.

[3.3.] Justice in the Individual

[3.3.1.] Three Principles of the Human Psyche.


[4.] Familial Communism Among the Guardian Class (Republic V).


[5.] The Possibility of the Perfect Polis (Republic V).

[5.1.] The Philosopher-Kings.

[5.2.] Doctrine of the Forms.

[5.3.] The Source of Political Authority.


[6.] What a Ruler Must Know: The Form of the Good (Republic VI & VII).

[6.1.] The Analogy of the Sun.

[6.2.] The Analogy of the Divided Line.

[6.3.] The Analogy of the Cave.


[7.] Education (Republic Book VII).


[8.] Degenerate Forms of Government (Republic VIII).

[8.1.] From Aristocracy to Timocracy.

[8.2.] From Timocracy to Oligarchy.

[8.3.] From Oligarchy to Democracy.

[8.4.] From Democracy to Tyranny.


[9.] Summary of Plato's View of the Ideal Polis.




[1.] Background.

[1.1.] Prelude to the Politics (Nichomachean Ethics X:9).


[2.] Politics Book I.

[2.1.] From the Household to the Polis.

[2.2.] Man, the Political Animal.

[2.3.] Natural Slaves


[3.] Politics Book II.

[3.1.] Criticism of Plato on the Importance of Unity (Politics II:2)

[3.2.] Criticism of Plato's Familial Communism (Politics II:3-4).

[3.3] Criticism of Plato's Property Communism (Politics II:5).

[3.4.] Final Complaints About the Republic (Politics II:5).


[4.] Constitutions and Their Justification. (Politics III:6-8, 10-11).

[4.0.] What is a Citizen? (Politics III:1-2).

[4.0.1] Identity of a City (Politics III:3).

[4.0.2.] The Good Citizen vs. the Good Man (Politics III:4).

[4.1.] Constitutions and Their Classifications (Politics III:6-8).

[4.2.] What Sort of Constitution is Best? (Politics III:10-11)

[4.3.] The Source of Political AuthorityN.


[5.] Distributive Justice.

[5.1.] Property (III:9).

[5.2.] Power (Politics III:12).


[6.] The Good Life (Politics VII-which-is-fourth:1-3).

[6.1.] Background from Nichomachean Ethics: Eudaimonia.

[6.2.] Three Types of Goods (VII-which-is-fourth:1).

[6.3.] External Action vs. Internal Development (VII-which-is-fourth:2).

[6.4.] Activity vs. Inactivity (Politics VII-which-is-fourth:3).

[6.5.] The Social Structure (Politics VII-which-is-fourth:8-9)


[7.] Achieving Eudaimonia (Politics VII-which-is-fourth:13-15).

[7.1.] War/Peace and Work/Leisure.

[7.2.] The Structure of the Soul and the Order of Education.


Thomas Hobbes


[1.] Background.


[2.] Hobbes on Human Nature.


[3.] The State of Nature (Leviathan Ch.13).


[4.] The State of Nature is a Prisoner's Dilemma. (Leviathan ch.14).

[4.1.] Laws of Nature.

[4.1.1.] Hobbes' "Right of Nature" Argument.

[4.2] Prisoner's Dilemmas.

[4.2.1.] The Original Dilemma.

[4.2.2.] The Dilemma in the State of Nature.

[] Iterated Prisoner's Dilemmas.

[4.2.3.] Escaping the Dilemma.


[5.] Contracts, Covenants, and Justice. (Leviathan Ch.14-15).

[5.1.] Agreements in the State of Nature.

[5.2.] The Appearance of Justice.

[5.3.] Being Just is Reasonable.


[6.] The Creation of the Commonwealth: Leviathan.

[6.1.] Commonwealth by Institution (Leviathan Ch.17).

[6.2.] The Rights of Sovereigns by Institution (Leviathan Ch.18).


[7.] Different Forms of Commonwealth by Institution (Leviathan ch.19).

[7.1] What Forms Are There?

[7.2.] Which Form is Best?

[7.3.] There Are Only Three Forms.

[7.4.] The Right of Succession.


[8.] Liberty and Freedom (Leviathan Ch.21).

[8.0.] On Free Will.

[8.1.] The Liberty of Subjects.

[8.2.] The True Liberty of Subjects.

[8.3.] The Death of the Leviathan.


John Locke


[1.] Background.

[1.1.] Biographical Info.

[1.2.] Locke as a Founder of Liberalism.

[1.3.] General Points About Locke's Political Philosophy.


[2.] The Natural Moral Condition of Human Beings (Second Treatise ch. I-VI).

[2.1.] The Law of Nature.

[2.2.] The State of Nature.

[2.3.] Executive Power of the Law of Nature.

[2.4.] The State of War.

[2.5.] Property.


[3.] The Political Relationship (Second Treatise ch. VII - IX).

[3.1.] Turning Over the EPLN.

[3.2.] From State of Nature to Civil Society.

[3.3.] Absolute Monarchies Aren't Civil Governments.

[3.4.] "The Ends of Political Society and Government."

[3.4.1.] Why We Leave the State of Nature.

[3.4.2.] Limits on Governmental Power. 


[4.] Powers of Government (Second Treatise ch.XI and XII).

[4.1] Separation of Powers.

[4.2.] General Limit on Legislative Power.

[4.3.] Specific Limits on Legislative Power.


[5.] The Dissolution of the Government (Second Treatise ch. XIX).

[5.1.] When the Government Loses Its AuthorityN.

[5.2.] "Rebellion."

[5.3.] The Individual Turns Against the Community.


Karl Marx


[1.] Background.


[2.] The Influence of Hegel.

[2.1.] Phenomenology of Mind.

[2.2.] Alienation and Master/Slave Consciousness.

[2.3.] Dialectic.

[2.4.] What Marx Takes from Hegel.


[3.] Private Property and Alienation.

[3.1.] Historical Context.

[3.2.] Labor as a Source of Self-Knowledge.

[3.3.] Four Forms of Alienation.

[3.4.] Against Private Property.


[4.] Communism.

[4.1.] History of the Class Struggle.

[4.2.] The Advent of Communism.

[4.3.] The Materialist Conception of History.

[4.4.] The Disappearance of Government.


John Stuart Mill


[1.] Background.


[2.] Basic Ethical Ideas.

[2.1.] The Harm Principle.

[2.2.] Utilitarianism.

[2.3.] Broadening the Harm Principle.


[3.] Freedom of Thought and Speech. (OL ch.I and II)

[3.1.] Personal Freedoms.

[3.2] Mill's First Argument for Freedoms of Thought and Speech.

[3.3.] Objections to Mill's First Premise.

[3.4.] Mill's Second Argument for Freedom of Thought and Speech.


John Rawls


[1.] Background

[1.1.] The Importance of A Theory of Justice.

[1.2.] Philosophical Context of Rawls' Work


[2.] The Concept of Justice.


[3.] The Original Position.


[4.] The Principles of Justice.

[4.1.] Not Utilitarianism.

[4.2.] The First Principle of Justice: Liberty.

[4.3.] The Second Principle of Justice: Distributive Justice.

[4.3.1.] The Equal Opportunity Principle.

[4.3.2.] The Difference Principle.

[] Overcoming the Natural Lottery.

[4.4.] How the Principles are Related.


[5.] Reflective Equilibrium.


Robert Nozick


[1.] Background


[2.] Do Rights Require Anarchy?


[3.] The Entitlement Theory.

[3.1.] Three Principles.

[3.2.] Rectification.

[3.3.] End-Result Principles vs. Historical Principles.



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