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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