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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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Dana Garrett on 06-02-15

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.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Per on 09-09-15

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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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 10-14-14

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?


Any additional comments?

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

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tim Jones on 05-07-17


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

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 09-02-16

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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