Introduction to Political Philosophy: A Free Yale Course

Taught by pro­fes­sor Steven B. Smith, this course from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty offers an Intro­duc­tion to Polit­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy, and cov­ers the fol­low­ing ground:

This course is intend­ed as an intro­duc­tion to polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy as seen through an exam­i­na­tion of some of the major texts and thinkers of the West­ern polit­i­cal tra­di­tion. Three broad themes that are cen­tral to under­stand­ing polit­i­cal life are focused upon: the polis expe­ri­ence (Pla­to, Aris­to­tle), the sov­er­eign state (Machi­avel­li, Hobbes), con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment (Locke), and democ­ra­cy (Rousseau, Toc­queville). The way in which dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal philoso­phies have giv­en expres­sion to var­i­ous forms of polit­i­cal insti­tu­tions and our ways of life are exam­ined through­out the course.

You can watch the 24 lec­tures from the course above, or find them on YouTube and iTunes. To get more infor­ma­tion on the course, includ­ing the syl­labus, vis­it this Yale web­site.

The main texts used in this course include the fol­low­ing. You can find them in our col­lec­tion of Free eBooks.

Intro­duc­tion to Polit­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy will be added to our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties. There you can find a spe­cial­ized list of Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es.

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Comments (3)
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  • Ömer Humbaraci says:

    The prob­lem is how to spread this dis­course of polit­i­cal democ­ra­cy to those whose edu­ca­tion bases on tele­vi­sion, and Mick­ey Mouse, and call their dogs Pla­to. Don’t you think so?

  • Eve Menelaou says:

    Pla­to and Aris­to­tle will teach peo­ple how to be bet­ter peo­ple and that leads today to less peo­ple who are unre­fined and ter­ror­ize oth­ers or steal oth­ers etc.

  • Laury Burr says:

    Ömer, I think it was ever thus! It seems to me that a major objec­tive of learn­ing phi­los­o­phy back in the Clas­si­cal Greek era was to learn how to live a bet­ter life (bet­ter in the moral/ethical sense) — fur­ther­more, it was seen that it was the politi­cians’ duty to teach the rest of the peo­ple how to live that lfe, hence the need for politi­cians to be philoso­phers. Please answer this care­ful­ly — how many of today’s politi­cians (even those who have degrees in “Phi­los­o­phy, Pol­i­tics and Eco­nom­ic”) would you trust to advise us in that direc­tion?

    By the way, I love the Plato/Pluto pun!

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