Category: Personal Growth/Improvement
What I am offering is an introduction to the fundamental problems of philosophy. We will make this introduction using seminal works of political philosophy such as Machiavelli, Rousseau, Plato, Mill, Nietzsche, and Hobbes. The topic of this course is “what is the nature of the political association,” but this question itself is connected to a prior question: does understanding the political association require that we first properly understand ourselves as human beings? Some of the greatest minds in the history of thought, such as Rousseau and Hobbes, argued that it does require an understanding of human nature and/or moral psychology, and the differences we see amongst the theorists we study will be motivated by the assumptions we make about these starting principles. Philosophy attempts to answer some of the most insoluble questions in our lives. Why do people deserve the things that they deserve (i.e. what is the basis of justice)? What is the good life? How do we achieve it? Is there a good life? Or is merely living enough and all we can wish for? What is our relationship to other citizens? We will be focusing on these questions by way of emphasizing a few basic dichotomies: nature versus convention (that is, what is natural to human beings, and what is established by law or custom), justice versus expedience/necessity, and force versus right. I am also willing to tailor the sessions to individual interests.