Spring 2008

Ancient Political Philosophy

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-49


Uday S. Mehta (Section 01)


(PT) This course provides an introduction to the political thought of Plato, Aristotle, and Saint Augustine. It is organized around classic texts which will be considered chronologically: Plato's Republic (selections); Aristotle, The Politics, and The Ethics; and St. Augustine, The City of God. The questions that will structure this study will include: Why is the study of politics something about which we need and can have general theories? What is the significance and the status of an "ideal" polity with respect to actual polities? What do the various philosophers take to be the original motivation underlying the formation of political society? How do these motivations conform with the normative prescriptions that are proposed? How do questions of hierarchy and equality inform ancient thought. And finally, what is the status of philosophy itself in offering political prescriptions? Second semester. Professor Mehta.