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Weeks 2 and 3

by: Aubriana Romero-Knell

Weeks 2 and 3 POLS 260 001

Aubriana Romero-Knell
GPA 3.7

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Weeks 2 and 3 notes
Political Ideas
Ellen Grigsby
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Aubriana Romero-Knell on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 260 001 at University of New Mexico taught by Ellen Grigsby in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see Political Ideas in Political Science at University of New Mexico.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 22 - February 5 , 2016 Core Concepts and Complexity of Definitions; The Introduction to the Issues 1) Beginning foundation:  a. There is no agreement in polisci as to how to define political theory b. “essentially contested” concept.  i. There is not one right definition because it is such a complicated task c. “elusive”  d. “Infinity” e. We use the 7 most popular 2) Euripedes and Democratic Theory a. Background. 5  Century BCE. Drama. Public and educational i. People from all over the world attended plays, which were considered to  be part of the education of a well­rounded citizen b. Pre­textbook scene i. T’s mother: asking for blessings upon city and son ii. Location: a temple iii. Women’s request: they are mothers who’s sons were killed in a war. They  are not able to collect their son’s bodies to give them a proper burial,  which is against Greek religious rule. They ask Theseus’s mother for her  son’s help. iv. Theseus Response 1: he blamed the losing city, the one the mothers are  from. “You made the decision [to go to war], do not trouble us.”  He looks at the war itself. They didn’t consult the Gods before  going to war  It was a foolish war, an incredibly bad decision  He says that there are 3 groups of citizens, the rich, who are  “insatiable for wealth” and stand to benefit from war, the poor,  who are motivated by envy and resentment and have nothing to  lose, and the middle, who are clear thinking and who’s opinions  were not considered. v. Intervention: Theseus’s mother steps in and says that “free, honorable  people respect people’s rights”, aka, “hold up. This is about honor. Will  you respect the rights of others?” vi. Theseus Response 2: he decides to help. c. Textbook scene i. 2 characters: Theban messenger and Theseus  TM: “Who is the tyrant who rules this land?”  T: we are a city in which the people rule. Demos +  kratein=democracy.  TM: criticisms of democracy 1) “Gullible multitude” 1 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 22 - February 5 , 2016 2) “pander to  the crowd”, “manipulate [people]”, “cloak  crimes” 3) “poor judges” 4) Resources­who has the time to be informed? 5) “wise and better people recoil from a system where people  they deem below them have the same value to their vote  T: doesn’t touch on any of his points. Theseus emphasizes that  while democracy is indirectly ruled by men, it is primarily Rule of  Law.  1) Whether human nature is inherently good or bad is  irrelevant because in a democracy all are treated equally  before the law. Thus Theseus is promoting an institutional  democracy rather than a civic democracy, which would  require good human nature. 2) First response: Democracy is the rule of the people 3) Second response: democracy is most accurately the rule of law i. The rule of law gives us equal footing. All of us are protected by this. “All alike.” “The poor are able to speak the same language is the strong- the language of law and justice.” 4) Concepts: 3 concepts that make a democracy better than a tyranny (according to Theseus) 5) Best equality? Legal equality is the best equality according to Theseus. This legal equality is presented through a democracy. 6) Youth/innovation? Tyranny fears the youth because they are the ones with the new and innovative ideas. But democracy protects the youth under legal equality. 7) Predictability: Theseus believes that democracy is more predictable then a tyranny, making it superior to a tyranny.  Last paragraph: “If you weren’t a messenger… under the protection of law…you would pay dearly…” 1) This shows Theseus is not only talking about democracy, but also acting it out. He could’ve made the messenger pay, but under law he did not. This shows the Theseus model of democracy through his actions. 2 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 22 - February 5 , 2016 ii. Significance: Does democracy require “good” human nature?  No. Look at Theseus; he does not have “good” human nature. Look at the Greek culture, the gods were flawed. iii. What makes this political theory?  Look at the origin of the word theory 1) Theorin, theoros, Theos. All mean to listen or to spectate. 2) Theory: actively looking for answers to transcendent questions Additional Perspective-What is Political Theory? 1) Losco and Williams a. 2 elements of definition i. Historical context ii. Timelessness b. Emphasis on process of thought i. PT is not just a body of authoritative text c. Implications of this definition i. Broader range of what PT is ii. Encompasses more iii. Experience changes our views. Powerful symbols and many other things can influence us. 1. Historical example: Van Dyck, Charles I on Horseback a. A divine right of kings (descending authority) b. Ruler-subject c. No popular sovereignty d. Symbolism in painting i. Size-underscores the bigness of the subject ii. Placement-people stand next to it and look like they are under the heel of the king iii. Strong horse-shows power and calmness of king iv. Sword-power, authority, danger v. Openness of setting-shows expansive kingdom of “little God” vi. Relaxed proportions-horses head looks tiny to show king is bigger iv. Textus embraces art, literature, and music and includes it in political theory 2) Kant a. Background 3 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 22 - February 5 , 2016 i. Newspaper article th ii. Began writing in 18 century iii. Representative of philosophical liberalism 1. “Liber”- emphasized above all else the. Talks about why we should value liberty b. Kant identifies and explains…. i. Definitions 1. “Enlightenment is moving away from self-imposed immaturity.” 2. “immaturity is the inability to engage one’s own intelligence without being directed by someone else 3. Enlightened people apply intelligence to a situation ii. Two obstacles to enlightenment 1. Laziness 2. Fear iii. Happiness relationship 1. One can be blissfully ignorant and fond of their immaturity iv. Flow errors? v. Emphasis on easy or hard to become enlightened (“second nature”) 1. Unenlightenment is easy and it becomes second nature vi. Individual pre reqs and political societal preqs 1. Individual-only a handful of people have been able to reach this 2. At a societal level, all we need is freedom to be enlightened socially vii. Public use of reason and private use of reason 1. Common core of philosophical liberalism 2. Public-sharing ideas freely 3. Private-acting in official capacity 4. Everyone has interest in acting professionally viii. Both free? Any restrictions? 1. Public-liber should rule 2. Private-neutrality rules and liber is restricted. Liberty is fundamental, but predictability and being able to trust someone to carry out their duties is also incredibly important ix. General obligations (note: how is “impossible” used?) 1. Every generation needs space in public to reason and seek its own enlightenment x. Returns to “is enlightenment consistent with human nature?” 4 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 22 - February 5 , 2016 1. Inside everyone is an embryo which needs to be read from a tough shell which represents obstacles to enlightenment 3) Paine’s background a. Supported American colonies independence b. Champion of American and French Revolutions c. Philosophical liberal 4) Paine’s topics a. Society v. government i. Which is a “blessing” and why? 1. Society allows us to satisfy needs. As societies enlarge, we relax our duties, so we need a third party ii. Which is “necessary evil” and why? 1. Government is regulatory and a punishing force. We need it because conscience is not enough as a lawgiver. iii. Are both necessary for happiness? 1. Yea, man iv. How does society arise? 1. Through time v. How does government arise? 1. Through need vi. What kind of government is consistent with liber? 1. Representative 2. Simple a. You know who to blame and you can fix errors 3. Freedom and security a. Extra lawgiver 4. Have to structure government so dead don’t govern the living “With Eyes Open”: Portis’s goal and defintions with Maistres’s Conservative Political Theory 1) Portis challenges foundational beliefs a. If anyone challenges traditional American beliefs, it’s Maistre, according to Kirk i. No such thing as “man” 1. Difference between cultures ii. Flaw of liberalism: assumptions about human nature 1. Liberals assume that human nature is rational, but flawed, according to Maistre. Humans make mistakes and we don’t have enough evidence to let people be free. He looks to history iii. Origins of government-2 ways 1. Government comes from God 5 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 22 - February 5 , 2016 2. God limits power of monarch, but when abusive, the people have a reaction (revolution is bad, reactions are good). When people begin to believe that they have the power that actually belongs to God, they are wrong. He concedes that the King cannot abuse his power, but the people start out right and end up wrong when they believe that they are really the ones who hold powerSt iv. “national soul” 1. People’s prejudices that prove useful 2. Faith and patriotism are the 2 great wonders of the world Relevance for Our Time…Portis, Strauss, Goldenberg, and Berry’s Political Theory 1) Strauss definition didn’t think Portis was enough. a. Emphasis i. Pre reqs for certain search for a certain understanding b. Notice: “horizons”. How many? Definitions? i. Absolute horizon-truth ii. Historically changing horizon c. Thus, what kind of quest…what kind of understanding? i. Existence of absolute truth ii. Need to understand that we are incapable of having full knowledge of the whole. iii. Philosophy is something we are always chasing and can never quite catch. d. Example: application. Plato’s allegory of cave. Know with whom we should identify with 6


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