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Machiavelli, Locke, and Wolin notes; PHIL 120

by: Madelon Morford

Machiavelli, Locke, and Wolin notes; PHIL 120 PHIL 120-10J

Marketplace > Emory University > PHIL-Philosophy > PHIL 120-10J > Machiavelli Locke and Wolin notes PHIL 120
Madelon Morford
Emory University
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Overviews and questions to consider for next weeks midterm exam!
Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Professor Moussie
Study Guide
PHIL; Social and Political; Philosophy 120; Social and Political Philosophy; Political science; Locke; Wolin; Machiavelli; The Prince; Democracy INC.
50 ?




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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Madelon Morford on Saturday February 20, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 120-10J at Emory University taught by Professor Moussie in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 45 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy in PHIL-Philosophy at Emory University.

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Date Created: 02/20/16
Social and Political Philosophy Midterm  Niccolò Machiavelli The Prince Overview  1. 16th­century political treatise  2. by the Italian diplomat and political theorist  a. Niccolò Machiavelli  3. Printed version was not published until 1532,  a. five years after Machiavelli's death b. done with the permission of the Medici pope Clement VII  i. (for whom the book was written for)  Questions to consider:  1. Questions about the ontology of politics and the role of knowledge are important for  every reading this semester 2. What seems to be Machiavelli's view of freedom/liberty?  3. To what degree is liberty a part of politics? 4. How do concepts of fortuna and virtue develope?  5. What characteristics are called virtuous, which are called a matter of fortune, and how are these concepts related? 6. Most important, what is Machiavelli's theory of violence?  7. How is violence seen as a political phenomenon and do you think his view of violence is  justified? 8. How is the ruler­ruled relationship developed in this reading?  9. What new depictions of "rulers" and "people" are discussed?  10. What do you think of Machiavelli's depiction of these two distinct political groups? Is his account accurate?  11. What about his discussion about founding politics on the people?  12. How does this reading further develop Machiavelli's view of why the people must be the  foundation of virtuous politics? 13. There are very important discussions about metaphysics in this reading, specifically the  distinction between appearance and reality.  14. What sort of metaphysical claims are being about politics in Ch. 15? What is the real  existence of politics? How does Machiavelli describe the theory/practice distinction? 15. Also, how is the appearance/reality distinction used to understand the ideal political actor  (i.e., a virtuous prince)? 16. How are these assumptions of the nature of the world and people in general used by  Machiavelli to justify his arguments? Are they reasonable assumptions? Why/why not? Recurring topics  1. Justifications and arguments for the ontological distinctions that divide the people from  the Prince/rulers   2. Justifications and arguments in favor of political realism, especially Machiavelli's view of the theory/practice divide. 3. Distinctions between the ruled and ruler, who can take part in power, etc.  4. Fortuna/Virtue 5. Ruler/Ruled relationship  John Locke Second Treatise of Government  Overview   Locke's fundamental argument: people are equal and invested with natural rights in a  state of nature in which they live free from outside rule.  1. Places sovereignty into the hands of the people 2. In the state of nature, natural law governs behavior, and each person has license to  execute that law against someone who wrongs them by infringing on their rights.  3. People take what they need from the earth, but hoard just enough to cover their needs 4. People begin to trade their excess goods with each other, until they develop a common  currency for barter, or money.  5. People then exchange some of their natural rights to enter into society with other people,  and be protected by common laws and a common executive power to enforce the laws.  People need executive power to protect their property and defend their liberty 6. The civil state is beholden to the people, and has power over the people only insofar as it  exists to protect and preserve their welfare.  7. Locke describes a state with a separate judicial, legislative, and executive branch­­the  legislative branch being the most important of the three, since it determines the laws that  govern civil society. 8. People have the right to dissolve their government, if that government ceases to work  solely in their best interest. The government has no sovereignty of its own­­it exists to  serve the people. 9. Locke's model consists of a civil state, built upon the natural rights common to a people  who need and welcome an executive power to protect their property and liberties; the  government exists for the people's benefit and can be replaced or overthrown if it ceases  to function toward that primary end. Questions to consider: 1. How does Locke describe the relationship between humans and the natural world?  2. How does he justify this view?  3. What key assumptions does he use when defending one's natural right to property? 4. What do you think about his theory of a human's natural right to property?  5. Is it an airtight argument? If not, where are the weaknesses? Are there alternatives that  have better justifications? 6. What sort of natural restrictions/sanctions are placed on acquiring property? In what  way(s) does this relate to the first reading and his discussion about the state of nature and  the law of nature? 7. How does Locke distinguish the natural acquisition of property from property gained in  political society? 8. Locke mentions how durable goods that don't spoil (i.e., money) seem to take a different  form of property. What's different about this type of property? Do you think Locke is  trying to justify economic inequality or is he simply describing how inequality happens  (an important distinction to think about). 9. In your view, to what degree should economics be a political concern? Should/can we  think of economics as "apolitical"? Why/why not? 10. How does his full picture of political sovereignty and power come to light in this last  reading?  11. How does this view compare to Machiavelli's realism? 12. What's his overall understanding of key terms like "commonwealth" and "common  good"? What sorts of metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical assumptions do these  ideas carry with them? 13. Is it favorable to have a vision of politics that implements these sorts of assumptions?  Why/why not? Sheldon S. Wolin Democracy Inc. Overview 1. Has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one  where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation  check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"? 2. Citizens are politically uninterested and submissive a. Elites are eager to keep them that way  3. The nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not  sovereign.  a. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls.  4. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany a. argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level. Questions to consider:  1. What sort of big ideas is he presenting us with, and how do they compare to the authors  and political theories we've read about so far?  2. Do we get any sense of his commitments regarding political theory? 3. Is he moving in a direction similar to Locke's Liberalism or is there some sort of break  with the type of liberal democracy Locke argues for?  4. What does he mean by saying the post­9/11 world is a world of mythology? 5.  How does Wolin define a "Superpower"?  6. What are the constitutive parts that make a form of power a "Superpower"? 7. Why does Wolin think Superpower and democracy mutually threaten each other's  existence? 8. Why does the increase of one depend on the decrease of the other? Does this seem  accurate? 9. How does Wolin develop the ideas discussed in the last reading, and what new ideas are  developed?


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