Introduction to Political Philosophy: A Free Online Course from Yale University

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.

  • Pla­to, Tri­al and Death of Socrates
  • Pla­to, Repub­lic
  • Aris­to­tle, Pol­i­tics
  • Machi­avel­li, The Prince
  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
  • John Locke, Sec­ond Trea­tise of Gov­ern­ment
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Polit­i­cal Writ­ings
  • Alex­is de Toc­queville, Democ­ra­cy in Amer­i­ca

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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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Oxford’s Free Course Crit­i­cal Rea­son­ing For Begin­ners Teach­es You to Think Like a Philoso­pher

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.