Jack Turner Iii
POL S 509
Central themes in political theory and the works of major political theorists, past and present.
SPRING 2014 THEME: POLITICS AND THE EXAMINED LIFE
To create a just society, must we first create just souls? Or can we design political institutions--in the spirit of Federalist 51--that can deflect and channel human vice so that a just society emerges out of all-too-human constituents? This is a recurring question in Western political theory, and this course addresses it by exploring five thinkers whose politics in various ways depended on rigorous self-examination: Plato, Augustine, Rousseau, Emerson, and Arendt. We will consider the examined life as an intrinsic good, but we will also address its fraught relation to the conduct of politics. In what ways is self-examination essential to good politics? In what ways does self-examination impede political life? How does politics threaten self-examination? Is it possible to imagine political life free of myth and lies? Is a politics of truth inescapably aristocratic?
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