History of Political Philosophy

Ancient Philosophy
Ancient political systems
Tyranny: rule by a single leader who usurps power and exercises absolute control Oligarchy: “rule of the few”; a small group holds power and governs the rest of the populace Aristocracy: “rule of the best”; a form of oligarchy justified by claiming that those in power are best suited to rule Democracy: “rule of the many”; all free born citizens are eligible to participate in government Plato’s Republic: describes the perfectly Just City, where reason the class of guardians) rules over courage the auxiliaries) and appetite the masses of craftsmen) Aristotle’s Politics: !olitical institutions ma"e possible the pursuit of virtue by providing a framewor" in which people can refine their rational powers# $here is no “best” form of government that applies universally; depends on particular circumstances# Stoicism: %mphasizes reason, virtue, and harmony with nature Natural law: $here is a foundation for ethics higher or more universal than legislated law# &ased on the nature of humans as rational beings %thical obligations exist independent of government 'eep influence on (omans) *toic political thin"ers include icero +,- &C./0 &C1, Seneca 0 &C.-2 3'1, !pictetus c# 2, 3'.c# +02 3'1, and "arcus Aurelius +4+ 3'.+5, 3'1 St# Augustine 02/./0,1) 6n City of God, contrasts secular society with the Church, argues that society should be ordered to promote the spiritual end of man#

Renaissance Philosophy
St# Thomas A$uinas +442.+47/1) !olitical institutions should provide the best environment in which to pursue religious goals# %umanism:8ocus on human concerns, sometimes as a reflection of divine purpose; a “religion of humanity#” Desiderius !rasmus +/--.+20-1) 6n The Education of a Christian Prince, argues for necessity of consent and consultation between rulers and the people# Niccolo "achia&elli +/-9.+2471) 6n The Prince, detaches politics from virtue; studies how rulers can capture and hold political power, even through treacherous means# Thomas "ore c# +/75.+2021) 6n Utopia, advocates religious tolerance and eradication of private property#

Modern Philosophy
Thomas %o''es +255.+-791) :uman life in a state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short#” (e&iathan: $he state is a metaphorical person whose body is made up of all the bodies of its citizens# Social contract: *ocieties are formed by a binding agreement for mutual protection against abuses in the state of nature# !eople surrender natural rights to the authority of a so&ereign with absolute power# )ohn (oc*e +-04.+7,/1 8ounder of li'eralism: !olitical institutions are justified only if they promote human liberty# ;ther significant liberal philosophers include <ant, =ill, and John (awls b# +94+1# 6ndividuals have natural rights+ such as life, liberty, and property, that are independent of government and society# (efutes di&ine right of *ings, people are obliged to remove a ruler who violates natural rights#

+5701 Standard of happiness: “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness.good institutions produce good conse>uences# )ohn Stuart "ill +5.+7751# $he no'le sa&age: :umans are naturally free and good but are corrupted by institutions of society “=an is born free.ousseau +7+4. coincides with “natural” sentiments that originate from humans? social nature# On Liberty: *ociety can only exert authority over behavior that harms other people# ommunitarianism: %mphasizes importance of community over individual liberty :egel1 ommunism see also =arxism1 !rivate property is abolished and all property is held in common# "arx and !ngels+ The Communist Manifesto +5/51) @or"ers should revolt against capitalism and seize control over means of production# Anarchism: !olitical institutions corrupt people and restrict freedom.-. wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness”.+5041) =oral justification must come from utility. true liberty can only exist when political institutions are abolished# Syndicalism: Aroup societies around collective and cooperative labor# .)ean-)ac$ues . but he is everywhere in chains”1# 6ndividuals in society must subjugate personal interests to the general will+an abstract expression of the common good# /tilitarianism 3 moral system based on producing the “greatest good for the greatest number of people” )eremy 0entham +7/5.