POLI 206 FINAL
PLATO Five Dialogues
AUGUSTINE Political Writings
MACHIAVELLI The Prince
LOCKE Political Writings
ROUSSEAU On the Social Contract
MARX the Communist Manifesto
J.S MILL On Liberty
1. Fives Dialogues – PLATO
Studying the relationship between politics and philosophy
Did Socrates really deserve to die? – considered him a hero, proposed exile
Plato’s critique of Athenian democracy is that it is not based on the right assumptions.
They believed that their truth was the universal truth – for everybody.
Thus, if there was a problem in the fundamentals of democracy, it was not a good form of
We thus search the relation between truth and philosophy, and what is the role of education ?
Moral questions ? Shape your character ? instrumental, to learn what is going on ?
Greeks did not have a set curriculum and institutions like today, the purpose of their education
Education was to gain a set of skills to allow you to be successful in the political arena and
It was a practical application – might help you live well
Cultivating character- making you a good citizen or person
Politics good citizen VS Philosophy good person
You can have a good moral life and never participate in politics. Thus be a good man, but not a
Do not interfere one with the other, political life is not compatible with philosophical life.
The average Athenian inspires to foster participation.
The Dialogue regards how someone is defined – good citizen because good man?
Languages – key concept of politics today
Democracy – demos- kratia (the people rule)
Believed it was an ideal. In dialogue, dual view of democracy (good and bad)
Theorize and write practices/assembly/jury/participation that carry through still today
Self-reflection and politics
They were the first ones to sit down and write about self-awareness on politics.
Distinguishes the Greeks : THEORIZE about it in a reflective way.
Social structure of their society : not a state, but rather a city
Division of classes in Athens
Citizens – M 18+
Women and metics (gained some rights to live in Athens, but no political rights)
Metics – making money was more important than having the right to participate
Frowned upon because they turned their back on their own city to live in Athens
Slaves – no fewer than 100 000
Slaves made it possible because people had free time to vote (participation is time consuming)
Thus, slavery is necessary to democracy
Something you could never get unless you were born in the city : citizenship.
You were only a citizen is your father was. You could not legally immigrate.
10 tribes in the city : districts, provinces, etc.
Tribes are by BLOOD. Once you are a citizen (18), you register to that tribe
Registration CAN be contested
Attend : religious cults /festivals/worships + assembly, speak and VOTE
Isegoria : quality of speaking entailed by citizenship.
Important : quality of political rights – you have protection of the law (equal), you cannot be
abused in an arbitrary way (if official citizen)
Provides ability to stand and vote for magistrates, capacity over land, MAJOR THEME OF
Property ownership = guarantees citizenship expected to register for 2 years of military from 18-
Then when you are 20 you may vote etc.
Assembly- group /body that has the final say on war / politics.