“Politics is not a game. It is an earnest business.”
Winston Churchill (Politician)
Teacher: Claus Staal Lessons: 4 /week
Too often people are being forced into political categories, such as being liberalists, “conservatives”, socialists or anarchists even, without any attempts being made to understand what it means to be either. It is the focus of this course to ensure that you are able to pass such political judgements and assessments, based on intimate knowledge of the origin of various political ideas, as well as their development and applicability in a modern day political environment, within a philosophical framework and relate it to political issues in a broader perspective.
In this class we will deal with philosophical issues like ethics and justice, and we will apply these to political systems and structures, and understand how all political systems ultimately is based on different notions of ethics. You will get to understand the ideas of philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill and Mikhail Bakunin, before moving on to understand the most recent development in political philosophy through the thoughts of the most influential modern scholars like John Rawls, Francis Fukuyama and Jürgen Habermas.
Discovering the complicated world of economical philosophy is also an integral part of this subject. How can you unravel the apparent conflict between liberalism and various forms of so-called communism, without understanding the underlying theory of economics often associated with these ideologies: capitalism and marxist economy respectively.
We will also address the rise of neo-liberalism and the reinvention of nationalism, both fascist and marxist, and the ongoing discussion on the relation between democracy and religion or more specifically the idea that democracy is only achievable in non-religious nations: secular states. So prepare to engage in a critical examination of the criteria for and principles of democracy.
Finally students will be offered a chance to examine the influence of politics on fashion, art, music and sports.