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History of political ideas 1st lecture. Introduction. Ideas of Classical Antiquity Lecturer: Marosán, Bence.

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1 History of political ideas 1st lecture. Introduction. Ideas of Classical Antiquity Lecturer: Marosán, Bence

2 “We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.” Woody Allen

3 Division of the semester 1st lecture: Introduction and Classical Antiquity. 1st lecture: Introduction and Classical Antiquity. 2nd lecture: Political ideas of the Middle Ages. Church and state in medieval Europe. The investiture controversy. 2nd lecture: Political ideas of the Middle Ages. Church and state in medieval Europe. The investiture controversy. 3rd lecture: Political ideas of early Modern Age. Separation of Church and State. The Separation of powers, and the importance of institutions. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Montesquieu. 3rd lecture: Political ideas of early Modern Age. Separation of Church and State. The Separation of powers, and the importance of institutions. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Montesquieu. 4th lecture: Political ideas of 19th century. Birth of modern streams of political thinking. Liberalism, conservativism and left- wing movements, (Marx and Marxism). 4th lecture: Political ideas of 19th century. Birth of modern streams of political thinking. Liberalism, conservativism and left- wing movements, (Marx and Marxism). 5th lecture: Political movements, thinkers and ideas in the 20th century. Neoliberalism, Social democracy, Neomarxism, Neoconservativism. 5th lecture: Political movements, thinkers and ideas in the 20th century. Neoliberalism, Social democracy, Neomarxism, Neoconservativism.

4 Main features of a political theory A political theory treats the principles, guide-lines, norms and values according to which (in the thinker’s opinion) the society has to organize its institutions, functions, structures, hierarchy and its general way of working. A political theory treats the principles, guide-lines, norms and values according to which (in the thinker’s opinion) the society has to organize its institutions, functions, structures, hierarchy and its general way of working. The aim of a political theory is to find the best way of running a society and a state. The aim of a political theory is to find the best way of running a society and a state. The political thinker in question has to argue for his or her ideas, so for his or her opinion according to which she/he finds some values to be the best for a society. The political thinker in question has to argue for his or her ideas, so for his or her opinion according to which she/he finds some values to be the best for a society. She or he has to fix the most basic values according to which the society or the state has to organize itself, and its particular way of functioning. So: she or he has to say what she/he thinks to be the most important in regard of a society: the preserving the traditional values of a nation (conservativism), guaranteeing the invulnerability of sphere of personal, individual freedom (liberalism), social justice and the defense of the rights of the needy (left-wing movements, Social democracy). She or he has to fix the most basic values according to which the society or the state has to organize itself, and its particular way of functioning. So: she or he has to say what she/he thinks to be the most important in regard of a society: the preserving the traditional values of a nation (conservativism), guaranteeing the invulnerability of sphere of personal, individual freedom (liberalism), social justice and the defense of the rights of the needy (left-wing movements, Social democracy).

5 F. Fukuyama: The end of history thesis „We may wittnessing the end of history as such: that is the tend point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.... Some conflicts may happan in places in the Third World, but the global conflict is over and not sust in Europe…The war of ideas is at an end also. Believers in Marxist- Leninism may still exist in places like Managua, Pyongyang, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, but overall liberal democracy has triumphed. The future will be devoted not to great exhilarating struggles over ideas but rather to resolving mundane economic and technical problems. It will all be rather boring.” F. Fukuyama

6 S. Huntington: The clash of civilization thesis „There are two important theme of the future: „There are two important theme of the future: First, the crucial impact of population growth on instability and balance of power. First, the crucial impact of population growth on instability and balance of power. The second, lashes of civilizations are the greatest threats to world peace, and an international order based on civilizations in the safeguard against world war. The second, lashes of civilizations are the greatest threats to world peace, and an international order based on civilizations in the safeguard against world war.

7 Main features of a political theory A political theory treats the principles, guide-lines, norms and values according to which (in the thinker’s opinion) the society has to organize its institutions, functions, structures, hierarchy and its general way of working. A political theory treats the principles, guide-lines, norms and values according to which (in the thinker’s opinion) the society has to organize its institutions, functions, structures, hierarchy and its general way of working. The aim of a political theory is to find the best way of running a society and a state. The aim of a political theory is to find the best way of running a society and a state. The political thinker in question has to argue for his or her ideas, so for his or her opinion according to which she/he finds some values to be the best for a society. The political thinker in question has to argue for his or her ideas, so for his or her opinion according to which she/he finds some values to be the best for a society. She or he has to fix the most basic values according to which the society or the state has to organize itself, and its particular way of functioning. So: she or he has to say what she/he thinks to be the most important in regard of a society: the preserving the traditional values of a nation (conservativism), guaranteeing the invulnerability of sphere of personal, individual freedom (liberalism), social justice and the defense of the rights of the needy (left-wing movements, Social democracy). She or he has to fix the most basic values according to which the society or the state has to organize itself, and its particular way of functioning. So: she or he has to say what she/he thinks to be the most important in regard of a society: the preserving the traditional values of a nation (conservativism), guaranteeing the invulnerability of sphere of personal, individual freedom (liberalism), social justice and the defense of the rights of the needy (left-wing movements, Social democracy).

8 Classical antiquity. The sophists In the Greek polis (state) there was an intensive political life, and there was a comfortably complex and structured system of political institutions which helped the emergence of political ideas and theories concerning these institutions and the essence of society (polis) as such. In the Greek polis (state) there was an intensive political life, and there was a comfortably complex and structured system of political institutions which helped the emergence of political ideas and theories concerning these institutions and the essence of society (polis) as such. The ancient Greek society econimically was based upon slave-labour. The layer of matured, aristocratic, free, wealthy Greek citizens had accordingly lot of free-time, and they had as an obvious way of career the field of politics. The ancient Greek society econimically was based upon slave-labour. The layer of matured, aristocratic, free, wealthy Greek citizens had accordingly lot of free-time, and they had as an obvious way of career the field of politics. In the fifth century BC, which was also called the period of „Greek Enlightenment”, many itinerant (or travelling) teachers, philosophers treated the problem of society, social norms, ethics, and the question of politics in Greece. They mainly taught techniques and practics of rhetorics and public political speeches which helped their students to convince their audience, and to make a career in the political life of the Greek polis of their age. In the fifth century BC, which was also called the period of „Greek Enlightenment”, many itinerant (or travelling) teachers, philosophers treated the problem of society, social norms, ethics, and the question of politics in Greece. They mainly taught techniques and practics of rhetorics and public political speeches which helped their students to convince their audience, and to make a career in the political life of the Greek polis of their age. They were called: the Sophists („philosophers”, „wise”, „learnt”, „professional” men). They usually came from the poorer layer, so they taught the subjects and topics which were much in demand: the tricks and master- strokes of political success. They were called: the Sophists („philosophers”, „wise”, „learnt”, „professional” men). They usually came from the poorer layer, so they taught the subjects and topics which were much in demand: the tricks and master- strokes of political success.

9 Classical authors. Socrates. Socrates (470-399 BC) was a contemporaneous philosopher to the sophists. He did not accept money for teaching, but was not entirely unpropertied, unlike the latter: he received a ground-rent from the polis of Athens. Socrates (470-399 BC) was a contemporaneous philosopher to the sophists. He did not accept money for teaching, but was not entirely unpropertied, unlike the latter: he received a ground-rent from the polis of Athens. He was one of the most influential philosophers ever lived. He taught in speech, he didn’t wrote down anything, his students and followers preserved his ideas and thoughts. He was one of the most influential philosophers ever lived. He taught in speech, he didn’t wrote down anything, his students and followers preserved his ideas and thoughts. He had a very open, straightforward, critical and for a certain degree confrontative and provocative manner. For this reason he made many enemies and oponents of himself in the Athenian public life. He had a very open, straightforward, critical and for a certain degree confrontative and provocative manner. For this reason he made many enemies and oponents of himself in the Athenian public life. At the end of his life the Jury of Athens sentenced him to death, on the basis of the following charges: „failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges, introducing new deities and corrupts the youth” – which accusation was in fact false. He was executed. At the end of his life the Jury of Athens sentenced him to death, on the basis of the following charges: „failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges, introducing new deities and corrupts the youth” – which accusation was in fact false. He was executed.

10 The trial of Socrates, (399BC) The assumed basis of the two charges: The assumed basis of the two charges: 1. „[F]ailing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges, introducing new deities”. 1. „[F]ailing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges, introducing new deities”. Socrates in fact spoke often about his „daimon” (guiding and guarding spirit), who told him which is right and which is wrong. Socrates in fact spoke often about his „daimon” (guiding and guarding spirit), who told him which is right and which is wrong. Socrates taught that someone has to critically investigate the traditions and the generally accepted norms before he or she accepts them. Socrates taught that someone has to critically investigate the traditions and the generally accepted norms before he or she accepts them. 2. Socrates „ corrupts the youth”. Kritika! (egyszerűbb) – daimon. A hagyomány kritikai megértése. 2. Socrates „ corrupts the youth”. Kritika! (egyszerűbb) – daimon. A hagyomány kritikai megértése. Socrates encouraged his students and followers to apply his critical method themselves too, before they accept anything. Socrates encouraged his students and followers to apply his critical method themselves too, before they accept anything. We could interpret Socrates’ „daimon” as the voice of the conscience. We could interpret Socrates’ „daimon” as the voice of the conscience. In fact Socrates demonstrated that these charges are insupportable, notwithstanding he was condemned. In fact Socrates demonstrated that these charges are insupportable, notwithstanding he was condemned. Plato reported the details of trials of Socrates in three of his dialogues: Apology, Crito, Phaedo. Plato reported the details of trials of Socrates in three of his dialogues: Apology, Crito, Phaedo.

11 The ethical theory of Socrates He thought that the authentic personality could differentiate between right and wrong – so he acts in a morally right way. He thought that the authentic personality could differentiate between right and wrong – so he acts in a morally right way. He supposed an internal relationship between virtue and knowledge. For this reason the ethical conception of Socrates also called the „intellectualist interpretation of ethics”. He supposed an internal relationship between virtue and knowledge. For this reason the ethical conception of Socrates also called the „intellectualist interpretation of ethics”. He perceived the well-known contradiction: one could act in a wrong, or even evil way consciously. His solution: He perceived the well-known contradiction: one could act in a wrong, or even evil way consciously. His solution: The real knowledge: is to know the most probable consequences of our actions. The ethically or morally right behavior leads the individual to the happiness. The wrong or evil actions, behavior does not lead to happiness – so those, who act this way, do not really know their own real interests, they only believe and pretend that they know it. The real knowledge: is to know the most probable consequences of our actions. The ethically or morally right behavior leads the individual to the happiness. The wrong or evil actions, behavior does not lead to happiness – so those, who act this way, do not really know their own real interests, they only believe and pretend that they know it. Socrates’ ethics is called „eudaimonism”, so which has the happiness as its highest principle. Socrates thought that the morally right is in the end identical with the happy life. Socrates’ ethics is called „eudaimonism”, so which has the happiness as its highest principle. Socrates thought that the morally right is in the end identical with the happy life. Socrates thought that the morally right is identical with the happiness, and because everybody strives after happiness, if someone knows which is really right, then he or she will certainly do that. Socrates thought that the morally right is identical with the happiness, and because everybody strives after happiness, if someone knows which is really right, then he or she will certainly do that.

12 Crito. The contract theory of politics at Socrates Crito is a dialogue written by Plato, which documented a conversation between Socrates and his student Crito. Crito is a dialogue written by Plato, which documented a conversation between Socrates and his student Crito. After the condemnation of Socrates, his followers bribed the guards of the prison, and tried to flee their master, but he refused to flee on principle. After the condemnation of Socrates, his followers bribed the guards of the prison, and tried to flee their master, but he refused to flee on principle. At the time of trial there was the festival of Apollo, during which no public execution could take place. Socrates execution was postponed for a month, but nevertheless he waited the act of execution in his open prison cell, with bribed guards. At the time of trial there was the festival of Apollo, during which no public execution could take place. Socrates execution was postponed for a month, but nevertheless he waited the act of execution in his open prison cell, with bribed guards. He told to his student, Crito, why did he think necessary to accept the death to which the polis of Athens condemned him. In Socrates’ opinion there was an implicit contract between the citizen and the state, according to which the citizen gets benefits and defence from the polis, and in return for these advantages he accepts the rules, norms and whatever commands and provisions he gets from the state, be these latter advantegous or disadvantegous. He told to his student, Crito, why did he think necessary to accept the death to which the polis of Athens condemned him. In Socrates’ opinion there was an implicit contract between the citizen and the state, according to which the citizen gets benefits and defence from the polis, and in return for these advantages he accepts the rules, norms and whatever commands and provisions he gets from the state, be these latter advantegous or disadvantegous. In Socrates’ view that would undermine the authority and legimicay of every and any political community and state, if its members only accept the benefits of state, but none of its obligations, orders and commissions. In Socrates’ view that would undermine the authority and legimicay of every and any political community and state, if its members only accept the benefits of state, but none of its obligations, orders and commissions.

13 Plato Student of Socrates, (424/423-348/347BC). Student of Socrates, (424/423-348/347BC). Aristocrat of the Athenian polis, who was wealthy enough to do not have any difficulty concerning the living. He despised the sophists who – in contrast – had to demand money for teaching and lecturing, because they were poor, and did not have a stable source of income beside teaching. Aristocrat of the Athenian polis, who was wealthy enough to do not have any difficulty concerning the living. He despised the sophists who – in contrast – had to demand money for teaching and lecturing, because they were poor, and did not have a stable source of income beside teaching. He created the Academy, an institution for lecturing and researching philosophy, mathematics and other sciences. He created the Academy, an institution for lecturing and researching philosophy, mathematics and other sciences. „No one shall enter, unless he knows geometry” – that was the inscription at the entrance of the Platonic Academy. „No one shall enter, unless he knows geometry” – that was the inscription at the entrance of the Platonic Academy. He had his idea about the perfect state, the perfect polis, which he wrote down in his long book „The Republic” („Politeia”). He tried to convince Dionysus, tyrant of Syracuse to realize his political ideas, but he wasn’t successfull. He had a quarrel with Dionysus, who sold Plato as a slave. He had his idea about the perfect state, the perfect polis, which he wrote down in his long book „The Republic” („Politeia”). He tried to convince Dionysus, tyrant of Syracuse to realize his political ideas, but he wasn’t successfull. He had a quarrel with Dionysus, who sold Plato as a slave. The followers of Plato had to purchase him back for 300 silver talents, (report by Diogenes Laertius, 3rd century AD, „Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers”). The followers of Plato had to purchase him back for 300 silver talents, (report by Diogenes Laertius, 3rd century AD, „Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers”).

14 Plato on knowledge and science The mother of philosophy is curiosity, and its essence is the research of truth. The mother of philosophy is curiosity, and its essence is the research of truth. Behind the sensual phenomena of nature and society there is the unchangeable and eternal world of ideas. The ideas (idéa, morphé, eidos), the ideal conceptual essences of things, cannot change but serve as basis for every actual and possible change. Behind the sensual phenomena of nature and society there is the unchangeable and eternal world of ideas. The ideas (idéa, morphé, eidos), the ideal conceptual essences of things, cannot change but serve as basis for every actual and possible change. The science could move with the method of conceptual thinking from mere opinion to the secure knowledge. The science could move with the method of conceptual thinking from mere opinion to the secure knowledge. If our present, actual, visible society corresponds more adequately to the invisible, ideal society of justice, then we have a securer, safer, happier and more persistent society. If our present, actual, visible society corresponds more adequately to the invisible, ideal society of justice, then we have a securer, safer, happier and more persistent society.

15 Plato on justice. „The Republic” The concept of „politeia” is equal with the concept of constitution and political order. Generally it is translated as „state”. The book begins with a discussion about the concept of justice, with a debate between Socrates and Thrasymachus, a sophist. The concept of „politeia” is equal with the concept of constitution and political order. Generally it is translated as „state”. The book begins with a discussion about the concept of justice, with a debate between Socrates and Thrasymachus, a sophist. According to Thrasymachus justice is „obeying to the stronger”. Socrates is unsatisfied with this definition and he began systematically analyse the concept of justice. He is of the opinion that one could demonstrate the concept of justice on an entirely just state. One could describe the idea of justice on the basis of the conception of an ideally just state. According to Thrasymachus justice is „obeying to the stronger”. Socrates is unsatisfied with this definition and he began systematically analyse the concept of justice. He is of the opinion that one could demonstrate the concept of justice on an entirely just state. One could describe the idea of justice on the basis of the conception of an ideally just state. One must therefore treat the theoretical problem that how would the ideal state, an ideally just state work. One must therefore treat the theoretical problem that how would the ideal state, an ideally just state work.

16 Plato’s theory of state and ethics According to Plato the structure of state and soul is analogous: both of them have two structural elements. The three parts of soul: intellect, striving and longing soul-parts. The three parts of state: leaders (in ideal case: philosophers), guards and workers (handicraftsmen and agricultural workers). According to Plato the structure of state and soul is analogous: both of them have two structural elements. The three parts of soul: intellect, striving and longing soul-parts. The three parts of state: leaders (in ideal case: philosophers), guards and workers (handicraftsmen and agricultural workers). The virtue of intellect and leaders is wisdom; the virtue of striving soul-part and guards is courage; and the virtue of longing-soul part and workers is temperance. The harmony of these three virtues is justice. The virtue of intellect and leaders is wisdom; the virtue of striving soul-part and guards is courage; and the virtue of longing-soul part and workers is temperance. The harmony of these three virtues is justice. The best political form is aristocracy which is based upon the rulership of the most eminent people of a community. The second best when the rulership in a polis is owned by people striving after fame and glory – the timocracy. The following political form when the dominance is owned and practiced by the people – democracy. The worst form of dominance is tyranny – when one man’s caprice rules the community. The best political form is aristocracy which is based upon the rulership of the most eminent people of a community. The second best when the rulership in a polis is owned by people striving after fame and glory – the timocracy. The following political form when the dominance is owned and practiced by the people – democracy. The worst form of dominance is tyranny – when one man’s caprice rules the community.

17 Aristotle Student of Plato, (384-322BC). Student of Plato, (384-322BC). Though Plato wrote almost exclusively dialogues, Aristotle wrote in the genre of scientific prose or treatise. Though Plato wrote almost exclusively dialogues, Aristotle wrote in the genre of scientific prose or treatise. He founded his own school of science and research, the „Peripatetic («walking») school”, in the Lyceum of Athens, (an open public place in Athens). It was closed in 529AD. He founded his own school of science and research, the „Peripatetic («walking») school”, in the Lyceum of Athens, (an open public place in Athens). It was closed in 529AD. He was the founding father of a number of sciences, such as grammatics, literary theory, logics, biological classification, rhetorics, political theory, etc. He was the founding father of a number of sciences, such as grammatics, literary theory, logics, biological classification, rhetorics, political theory, etc.

18 Possible political formations according to Aristotle The basis of classification is the concrete historical constitutions of Greek poleis (polis plural). The basis of classification is the concrete historical constitutions of Greek poleis (polis plural). The supreme executive power could be possessed by: one man, a few men, a number of people (by a multitude). The supreme executive power could be possessed by: one man, a few men, a number of people (by a multitude). The mode of using the power could be legal and just, illegal and unjust, and could be determined by individual or some collective interests. According to this there could be three righteous and legal, and three bad and unjust basic types of political formations. The mode of using the power could be legal and just, illegal and unjust, and could be determined by individual or some collective interests. According to this there could be three righteous and legal, and three bad and unjust basic types of political formations. The good types of political formations: 1. monarchy (reign of a righteous and law-abiding king), 2. aristocracy (reign of virtouos and excellent citizens), 3. politeia (reign of a wide, law-abiding community of people). The good types of political formations: 1. monarchy (reign of a righteous and law-abiding king), 2. aristocracy (reign of virtouos and excellent citizens), 3. politeia (reign of a wide, law-abiding community of people). Bad types: Tyranny, oligarchy and democracy. Bad types: Tyranny, oligarchy and democracy.


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