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Publisher's Summary

Without even realizing it, we all use the fruits of political philosophy. From liberty to democracy to community, the terms and concepts originated by political philosophers are ingrained in our global consciousness. Yet many of us have an incomplete picture of how these ideas developed and, quite possibly, a skewed perception of their intentions and implications.

This highly relevant course sheds light on the labyrinth of Western political and social theory, as well as its influence on modern history. Guided by an award-winning professor of philosophy and author, these eye-opening lectures reveal how political philosophers, in responding to the societal problems and changing conditions of their day in revolutionary ways, created virtual blueprints of action for leaders. You'll gain not only the tools to comprehend the omnipresent language of politics, but a thorough understanding of the wellspring of thought that has emerged over centuries of political philosophy and the intellectual origins of major historical movements and events.

Throughout, questions of democracy, freedom, and distributive justice are addressed, and revolutionary figures who have left an indelible mark on history - from Niccolo Machiavelli to Ayn Rand - are encountered.

By the conclusion of lecture 36, you will have the context necessary to appreciate the evolution of a myriad of political ideas, including hot-button topics of today such as libertarianism, neoconservatism, feminism, and environmentalism.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas

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Excellent

Very comprehensive and detailed whilst still being enjoyable and listenable :). One of the best great courses political focuses.

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Really, really good

This was a great course and audiobook. It covers political philosophy up to 2010 in concise and (relatively) easily understood language.

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  • Rachel Moyer
  • 08-07-2018

Political philosophy

A political philosophy course by Great Courses/Audible, it includes a detailed PDF. Several areas made me think and gave me a greater appreciation about why socialism came about and just how short a timespan is involved. It mainly covers since about 1700. It also is about philosophy and doesn't cover current US politics.

Since I mainly interested in STEM, I never really thought about what this course covers. If you're in that camp, it's worth it.

PDF
LECTURE 1 Origins and Conflicts of Modern Politics .............................................4
LECTURE 2 Ancient Republics, Empires, Fiefdoms .............................................11
LECTURE 3 Machiavelli’s New Order ...................................................................18
LECTURE 4 Hobbes, Natural Law, the Social Contract ........................................25
LECTURE 5 Locke on Limited Government and Toleration ..................................32
LECTURE 6 Rousseau’s Republican Community .................................................39
LECTURE 7 Kant’s Ethics of Duty and Natural Rights ..........................................46
LECTURE 8 Smith and the Market Revolution .....................................................53
LECTURE 9 Montesquieu and the American Founding ........................................60
LECTURE 10 Debating the French Revolution .......................................................68
LECTURE 11 Legacies of the Revolution—Right to Left ........................................75
LECTURE 12 Nationalism and a People’s War.......................................................82
LECTURE 13 Civil Society—Constant, Hegel, Tocqueville .....................................89
LECTURE 14 Mill on Liberty and Utility...................................................................97
LECTURE 15 Marx’s Critique of Capitalism ..........................................................104
LECTURE 16 Modern vs. Traditional Society .......................................................112
LECTURE 17 Progressivism and New Liberalism ................................................119
LECTURE 18 Fleeing Liberalism—Varieties of Socialism .....................................126
LECTURE 19 Fleeing Liberalism—Fascism and Carl Schmitt ..............................134
LECTURE 20 Totalitarianism and Total War .........................................................142
LECTURE 21 Conservative or Neoliberal—Oakeshott, Hayek .............................149
LECTURE 22 Reviving the Public Realm—Hannah Arendt ..................................157
LECTURE 23 Philosophy vs. Politics—Strauss and Friends ................................164
LECTURE 24 Marcuse and the New Left..............................................................171
LECTURE 25 Rawls’s A Theory of Justice............................................................179
LECTURE 26 Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick, Libertarianism .......................................186
LECTURE 27 What about Community? ................................................................193
LECTURE 28 Walzer on Everything Money Shouldn’t Buy ..................................200
LECTURE 29 Identity Politics—Feminism ............................................................207
LECTURE 30 Identity Politics—Multiculturalism ...................................................214
LECTURE 31 The Politics of Nature—Environmentalism .....................................222
LECTURE 32 Postmodernism, Truth, and Power .................................................230
LECTURE 33 Habermas—Democracy as Communication ..................................237
LECTURE 34 The End of History? Clash of Civilizations?....................................244
LECTURE 35 Just Wars? The Problem of Dirty Hands ........................................252
LECTURE 36 Why Political Philosophy Matters ...................................................259

23 people found this helpful

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  • Dana Garrett
  • 02-06-2015

An Excellent Survey of Western Political Thought

This is an excellent survey of the philosophical foundations of Western political thought. It covers not only the foundations of Western political thought (Plato and Aristotle) but also recent developments in western political thought (the animal rights movement and feminism). The explanations are clear, objective, and without a lot of philosophical jargon. At a certain point the standard becomes Liberal Republicanism and it is against this standard that other alternate theories are measured. That privileging of Liberal Republicanism seemed unnecessary to me. Yet when alternate theories are presented their critiques of Liberal Republicanism are presented as well. I will most certainly be listening to this book again. It's worth it.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-11-2016

brilliant synopsis of political philosophy

he covers a host of controversial topics from fascism to veganism without having an aparant bias and presenting their argument from their own point of view.

He takes a deep dive into the history of political philosophy and applies various philosophical models to a broad spectrum of political topics.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Per
  • 09-09-2015

Excellent primer

Having no background on the subject, I picked this book up to get a primer. In that capacity, it is an excellent book, covering political philosophy from the ancient greeks to modern society. Excellent and pleasant narration. Recommended!

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  • Christopher Torgersen
  • 02-06-2016

Interesting topic, somewhat dull narration

The ideas and concepts in this course, as well as the material it covers, are fascinating. The course gives a bird's eye view of politics leading into our modern day situation and provides a thorough and balanced understanding of how we got to where we are.

Professor Cahoone is clearly knowledgeable and has many good insights, but I did find his narration a bit monotonous. Unlike other Great Courses lecturers, he is clearly reading his notes with little improvisation or deviation from them. This might work well for some, but I prefer lecturers who are more animated. I think I may have zoned out for swaths of some lectures and would need to re-listen in order to fully absorb them.

It's still a good course worth taking if you are interested in the material.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-12-2015

exceptional

Clarified politics for me beautifully. Without being partisan. would recommend to anyone who is even slightly confused about our current politics.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Marissa Cohen
  • 01-07-2021

Amazing. The Great Courses Continues to Triumph

Wow! These lectures span eras of political thought with thorough and expansive explanations of each philosophical topic. The course kept me captivated and intrigued enough to inspire my own research on the topics after I completed it. I can't recommend this enough!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 10-03-2020

Great Foundation in Modern Political Philosophy

A great intro course for Modern Political Philosophy. Providing lectures on a wide range of notable thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant. Smith, Montesquieu, Burke, Paine, Clausewitz, Hegel, Marx's, Schmitt, Hayek, Rawls, and others. The information in these lectures is almost essential to understanding much of modern political ideas and development. Beyond the first few lectures the timeline runs mid 17th century to the modern age.

Although professor Cahoone's delivery can be slightly monotone at times, for the most part its easy to stay engaged and understand the material even if you have no background on the subject or political philosophy in general.

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  • DM Brooks
  • 24-10-2018

An essential lecture serie for thinking people

Even more essential than an American Civics class, this lecture series should be studied by any concerned citizen of any nation and anyone concerned with the "ideal", " practical" or good society. I highly recommend it. My only wish is that it would have had 45 minute lectures (and thus another 9+ hours). It was too short!

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  • G. Benett
  • 06-06-2018

Illuminating, entertaining overview

As a politically naive 60-yo, I gained from Prof. Cahoone's course a tremendous sense of the history, foundation, and philosophy behind our postmodern political conundrum. From Plato and Aristotle through the Enlightenment to the Frankfurt School and multiculturalism, this survey provides a vocabulary and methodology for political thinking and discourse. Highly recommended for those who, like me, need a primer to participate in the crucial arguments of our time.

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  • Michael
  • 14-10-2014

Another gem from Cahoone

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Cahoone does a great job of distilling complex theories often expressed in difficult language and rendering these easily accessible to the listener.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas?

I thought the explanation of Habermas was excellent. While understandably selective and simplified, Cahoone gets down to the bones of what Habermas says. He renders the obfuscatory Habermas coherent - which is not an easy job!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

N/A - although I did enjoy the anecdote about the student in the lecture on Walzer; it was both entertaining and illustrative.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

N/A

Any additional comments?

I really do hope Cahoone does another lecture series. His previous lectures series (Decartes to Derrida) was also excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-2020

Great lectures, poor narration.

This is a great course in political philosophy, covering most of the big contributors. I found the narrator's voice to be a struggle to listen to at times. In some lectures he sounds croaky and tired, very unlike his other performances.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-10-2020

Thought provoking

Very clear and thought provoking. There is a lot to go through in such a short time - but even on the areas I had a particular interest in such as Habermas and postmodernism there was enough detail to feel I now have a better understanding. Feel privileged to be able to listen to something so academic on here! It’s absolutely great 👍

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  • Pedro p.
  • 22-07-2020

Centrist but fabulous.

this really is a fantastic course can't recommend it enough. one criticism is that it goes out of its way to explore all sides while settling on centrist outlook as being somewhat superior to others.

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