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When do governments deserve our allegiance, and when should they be denied it? This course explores the main answers that have been given to this question in the modern West. We start with a survey of the major political theories of the Enlightenment: Utilitarianism, Marxism, and the social contract tradition. In each case, we begin with a look at classical formulations, locating them in historical context, but then shift to the contemporary debates as they relate to politics today. Next, we turn to the rejection of Enlightenment political thinking, again exploring both classical and contemporary formulations. The last part of the course deals with the nature of, and justifications for, democratic politics, and their relations to Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment political thinking. In addition to exploring theoretical differences among the various authors discussed, considerable attention is devoted to the practical implications of their competing arguments. To this end, we discuss a variety of concrete problems, including debates about economic inequality, affirmative action and the distribution of health care, the limits of state power in the regulation of speech and religion, and difficulties raised by the emerging threat of global environmental decay....

Principales reseñas


1 de jul. de 2020

The lectures are easy to understand, the reading materials informative. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and any beginner will be able to grasp the technicalities of Moral Politics after this Course.


16 de sep. de 2015

excellant work dont by Dr Ian Shapiro and staff on putting such a mind turning,thought provoking MOOC on a complex and ever controversial subject known as POLITICS!..I hope to see more from them soon

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por Harry M

25 de sep. de 2020

This is a well organized course with lots of thought provoking material. Professor Shapiro's presentations were solid, occasionally humorous and worth my time and effort. At first I didn't find the format of the course's British-tutorial approach to my liking but by week 4, I understood the reasons for this approach.

The readings were appropriate but, from my novice background, a bit over my head; the quizzes were not as easy as I thought they would be (which was a good thing). I was sad when the course ended.

That being said, the course desperately needs updating, especially in the Trump era, where political immorality is flourishing. The past four years have seen the decline in democracy in many developed and developing countries. An updated course, in which this decline is incorporated into the course material would be valuable.

That said, this was a valuable experience for this political junkie. Dr. Shapiro not only 'knows his stuff' but he can actually teach....a combination that is not always the case in higher education.

por Lloyd A

9 de abr. de 2016

Really enjoyed this course, although it was like a whistle-stop tour of political philosophy. That is probably the one thing I would change about it - the title. Foundations of Modern Political Philosophy might be more appropriate as morality was only briefly touched on. But it was jam=packed with information and education, really good, Professor Shapiro was excellent, and whilst the students were a little infuriating at times, I guess that adds to it too. Thank you.

por Arpitha R

8 de jul. de 2020

I started this course with zero knowledge of politics and the like. Now I think I have understood the working of governments and why laws are made the way they are, according to history. I have basic knowledge and can now start forming my opinions on politics and the economy. Prof. Shapiro was a delight to listen to as well. Very knowledgable and graceful. Thank you

por Stella L X T

28 de may. de 2020

A little complicated to grasp for a non-American, but I managed to get a basic understanding of how politics were shaped through the many theories over the years, and try to apply my understanding to my country's governance situation. An insightful course that required quite a bit of thinking to keep up. Thank you Prof and the 2 students, for all the effort!

por ravi t k

24 de oct. de 2015

This is a great course to start. Although I am an Engineer by profession, i grew up following different political systems all over the world. I always amazed by the contradictory views of them. Finally, this course helped me to get a sense of different political theories and raised my interest much more. Thanks!

por Hanis

24 de ene. de 2021

I enjoyed all Prof Shapiro's lesson about the moral foundation of politics. His class gave me an insight into how we developed our political views from the early days. It was a little hard to understand all the terms used in this course, so I suggest using your reading and research.