Introduction to Political Philosophy is primarily aimed at first- and second-year undergraduates interested in moral, political and social philosophy, along with high school students and professionals with an interest in humanities. The objective of the course is to familiarise the students with the main ideas and themes of Western Philosophy from the Ancient Greeks to the present day with a special focus on moral, social and political problems. The course also touches upon the ideas in metaphysics, ontology and religious philosophy, but only to extent that these conceptual areas illuminate moral and political issues. The course aims to broaden the students background to help prepare them for more advanced courses, including the second year course Modern Political Theory and third year course in International Political Theory. Man is born free and yet everywhere he is in chains. We cherish individual liberty, and yet we find our deepest values & commitments largely shaped by the societies into which we are born. We want to be happy, and yet apparently, we are unable to flourish outside of a well-ordered community of our fellow human beings. Such is the nature of human condition – our political nature – and therefore the fundamental problem of political philosophy. Colleagues! Greetings and welcome to the course! My name is Alexander Koryagin, I am a Lecturer in Philosophy of Science & Political Theory at HSE. In the next 16 Lectures I will guide you through the most fundamental questions discussed by the foremost minds of the Western Political Philosophical Tradition. We shall begin from the foundation of our discipline in Plato & Aristotle, with their emphasis on the flourishing of human excellence in well-constituted poleis. We shall then continue through the Enlightenment optimism of Hobbes & Rousseau, the strength of the Nation derived only from the free & eager consent of the Citizens, the free consent to the rational laws. Finally, we shall arrive at the anxiety and the suspicion of the Modern Critical Tradition of Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault – their unmasking of the ideological indoctrination, of the progressive exploitation, of alienation and of ultimate potential self-destruction of humanity enslaved by the structural pursuit of efficiency for the sake of efficiency. Some of the questions that we shall discuss in our course are: - to what extent: societies enable, or restrict our individual flourishing? - are we in control of our destiny, or is human nature merely a product, of larger structural forces of Biological & Cultural Evolution? - are we progressing, towards a more enlightened society; or towards self-destruction? - what should be the balance between reform (maybe even revolution); and conservatism? Why study Political Philosophy? In many ways, a strange question!.. If you do not think for yourself, others think for you. Is the unexamined life worthy of a human being? “What are we? Where do we come from? What does the future hold? And what can we do about it, individually and collectively?” Colleagues, let me invite you into the dialogue, to examine these fundamental questions in the company of the greatest minds of the Western Philosophical tradition.