Politics, Statecraft, and the Art of Ruling
Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-05
Hadley P. Arkes (Section 01)
In the teaching of the classic philosophers, the central questions of politics are questions of justice: What are the grounds of our judgment on the things that are just or unjust, right or wrong? What is the nature of the just, or the best, political order? What measures would we be "justified" in imposing with the force of "law"? What is the nature of that regime we would seek to preserve in this country-or, on the other hand, what are the regimes that we would be justified in resisting in other places, even with the force of arms? The problem of judgment must point to the principles, or the standards, of judgment, and to an understanding that is distinctly philosophic. But political men and women also need a certain sense of the ways of the world: the things that hold people in alliance or impart a movement to events; the ways in which the character of politics is affected by the presence of bureaucracies or elections; the arts of persuasion; the strains of rendering judgments. And the knowledge of these things must depend on experience. In this style of introduction to political science, a central place will be given over to the study of statesmen and politicians: Lincoln, Churchill, Eisenhower, but also Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan. The course will draw us back to Aristotle and Plato, to Machiavelli and the American Founders, but then it will also encompass the study of voting and campaigns, and the more recent politics of race and gender. Limited to 30 students. First semester. Professor Arkes.