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Political Theory 101

Political Theory 101

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A podcast about political theory. Freely available to all, but we'd love your support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/politicaltheory101 Also available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play
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Alex and Benjamin explore the history of political thought from the point of view of Bastiat - who threw many ancient and enlightenment thinkers together into the basket of plunderers. If we think we come from God whole and complete, the need for civic education falls away...Political Theory 101 による
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We explore the methodological contributions of the late historian of political thought, John Pocock. We talk about the role of language and context in interpreting texts, distinctions between "history" and "philosophy," and the implications of these methodological shifts for the political economy of the university.…
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Alex and Benjamin talk about 18th century German philosopher Christian Wolff. Wolff suggested that there are reasons behind our motivations. Even a soldier who deserts his post is motivated to desert for a reason. Does that mean that rebels are motivated to rebel for reasons? And when two states are motivated to war with one another, does that mean…
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Alex and Benjamin bring on Doug Lain to talk about free speech in the 21st century. Doug offers his take on why free speech matters, and we discuss the political economy of speech and the role the state and civil society play in shaping public discussion. They also discuss his critique of Noam Chomsky and his interest in the work of Guy Debord.…
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Alex and Benjamin discuss Nicole Oresme, a 14th century French bishop who took an interest in political economy. An advocate for limited monarchy, Oresme argued against the right of king to debase the currency and even to raise taxes. Yet, at the same time, he argued for major redistribution of wealth within the church. These seemingly conflicting …
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Drawing on the work of G.E.M. de Ste. Croix, Peter Temin, and Walter Scheidel, Alex and Benjamin dig into the economy of the Roman Empire. They explore the role of markets, the level of social mobility, whether a core/periphery model applies, and the influence of contemporary concerns on Roman historiography.…
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Alex and Benjamin discuss the state of Confucianism during the Ming Dynasty. Should "li" be understood as "principle" or "pattern"? What is the relationship between li and chi? While some theorists, like Zhu Xi, hold that studying the classics can help clear up your chi, Wang Yangming argues that the virtues are much easier to acquire, because for …
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Alex and Benjamin discuss one is on Lord Shang, a Chinese political theorist and minister associated with the development of legalism. Unlike most ancient political theorists, Shang Yang denies the possibility of a politics based on virtue. He therefore denies the possibility that the state can be ruled by a virtuous elite. But this does not lead h…
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Alex and Benjamin discuss The Ethics of Voting (Princeton UP, 2011) by Jason Brennan, a contemporary political philosopher with a right-libertarian bent. They explore the consequences of thinking about voting from the standpoint of the individual. They talk about "harm reduction," and explore the many reasons it is hard to predict the consequences …
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Alex and Benjamin dive into the thought of Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos. Ruler of a rump state that increasingly lacked the capacity to defend its territory, Manuel focused on trying to discern the things emperors could control from the things they couldn't. He tarries with some of the most frustrating issues in Christian ethics, all in …
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Expelled from France in 1303 after he sided with Pope Boniface VIII in a dispute with King Philip IV, John Duns Scotus advanced a theory of natural law that was much more limited in scope than that of the more famous Thomas Aquinas. Among other things, we explore his contention that property rights are based on positive law rather than natural law.…
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Alex and Benjamin discuss the ideas of Chrysippus, a Stoic philosopher from the 3rd century BC. They explore Chrysippus' account of free will, his distinction between things that are good and "preferred indifferents," and the influence of his thought on theorists like Rousseau and Kant.Political Theory 101 による
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Alex and Benjamin discuss Bartolus, a 14th century Italian jurist who used 6th century Roman law to legitimate the Italian city-states. Along the way, he develops the concept of "the city" as an abstraction, arguing that "the city is its own prince." This had substantial influence on later understandings of "the state."…
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Alex and Benjamin discuss Persian political theorist and Seljuk Vizier Nizam al-Mulk, a talented administrator who nonetheless left behind quite a mess. We compare him to Michael Psellos (his contemporary). We discuss the Sassanid origins of his political thought. We also go into the deep, intractable problems he had with both women and heretics, m…
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Alex and Benjamin discuss the political thought of Confucius, moving past stale stereotypes and into a deeper discussion of the role of the gentleman and the sage in creating and sustaining an ideal customary community.Political Theory 101 による
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Alex and Benjamin talk about Michael Psellos, an 11th century Greek thinker who advised a series of Byzantine emperors. We compare Psellos with earlier Platonists and discuss some of the problems the Byzantine Empire faced throughout his career.Political Theory 101 による
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Alex and Benjamin talk about Iamblichus, and the strand of neo-Platonism that gets interested in theurgy. They compare Iamblichus with Plotinus. Is part of the soul in the realm of the intelligibles, or has all of it descended? The answer matters, politically. There's also some discussion of the religious politics of Emperor Julian, whose philosoph…
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In Edmund's farewell episode, we discuss the September Group, including G.A. Cohen, Jon Elster, and Philippe Van Parijs. We discuss theories of history, the influence of Darwinian evolution on Marx, the differences between analytic and continental political theory, and the possibility of bridging that divide. Edmund and Benjamin will do one last Pa…
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Andrew Osipov joins Benjamin and Edmund to discuss Montesquieu's political thought. They focus on virtue & honor, monarchy and republicanism, and discuss some of the factors that led to the French Revolution.Political Theory 101 による
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