Inventors of Ideas



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PSC 280 – Introduction to Political Philosophy

Readings Questions for

Inventors of Ideas


by

Donald Tannenbaum and David Schultz


The material sufficient to answer each of the following questions appears in the primary text for the class in the order that the questions are presented below. Questions which are numbered in bold print may appear as short answer questions on tests and thus require more extended responses. Such responses should be in the form of complete sentences (one will rarely suffice) and should not feature fragments, drawings, lists (lettered, numbered, or otherwise marked) or abbreviations. In each instance, scoring will be based on your demonstration of an impressive familiarity and understanding of the material in the text.
Chapter 1. Political Philosophy: Introducing the Challenge
1. The origins of Western political thought begin with whom?

2. Recorded, systematic philosophy by individual thinkers appears to have begun where and with whom?



3. What are four common “major themes” in the works of political philosophers?

4. Contrast the idealism of “ancient” political philosophers with the thought of so-called “early moderns.”

5. Generalize about “postmodern” philosophy and philosophers.

6. How do philosophers who favor dominance of the collective differ from those who support the priority of the individual?

7. Understand the difference between a descriptive and a prescriptive (or normative) statement.


Chapter 3: Plato: Advocating Justice
1. What is the central question in the Republic?

2. Describe Athens at the time the Republic is written.

3. How do the Sophists think about Justice?

4. Explain the doctrine of forms

5. Why does the state develop?

6. What are the three classes delineated in the Republic?

7. What two restrictions are placed on the guardians?



8. Describe Plato’s decay or dissolution of the ideal state.
Chapter 4: Aristotle: Endorsing Community
1. Define telos.

2. What did Aristotle and his colleagues study?

3. What, according to Aristotle, is the basis for judging any polis?

4. What is Aristotle’s view of human nature?

5. Aristotle’s focus is not justice, but what?

6. What are three kinds of community?

7. The highest sort of friendship can only be based on what?

8. What is “the end” of the polis?

9. What is an autarky ?

10. Aristotle concludes that, in most cases, what particular form of government is “just?”

11. What does Aristotle see as “inevitable” in all societies?

12. What characterizes a “perverted” form of government?

13. What does Aristotle see as the worst form of government?

14. The stability of the polity requires a large what?


Chapter 5: Cicero and Roman Political Thought: The Transformation of the Political
1. Who “destroyed” the polis?

2. Describe the basic tenants of stoicism.

3. Contrast Greek and Roman ideas and ideals.

4. Name Cicero’s two main political works.

5. What does Cicero see as a citizen’s highest obligation?

6. What, according to Cicero, causes people to come together in society?

7. What does the character Scipio consider the best “pure form” of government?

8. What government, on the other hand, does Scipio “prefer?”

9. What is the embodiment of the perfect state according to Scipio?

10. A true commonwealth is a government that produces what?

11. How does the character Laelius define “true law?”

12. What is the “guiding principle” of the true commonwealth?


Chapter 6: Paul and Augustine: Emergence of the Christian Political World
1. What does Augustine read as the basis for political society?

2. What is Augustine’s response to critics who blame the fall of Rome on Christianity?

3. What “necessitates” the political order, according to Augustine?

4. How does Augustine describe human nature?

5. What city represents the City of God?

6. What cities represent the City of Man?



7. How does Augustine’s view of time (history) differ from that of the Greeks and Romans?

8. What is the source of knowledge and truth for Augustine?

9. According to Augustine, all states are created by what?

10. What do the authors call the “implication” of Augustine’s answer to the above question?

11. Augustine saw the collapse of Rome as a failure of what?
Chapter 7: The Contribution of Islam: John of Salisbury, Thomas Aquinas, and the Rise of the Medieval Political World.
1. Which writers influenced Thomas Aquinas?

2. How does Aquinas describe human nature?

3. Rulers are required to follow what?

4. What are the four types of law according to Aquinas?

5. What type of rules to Aquinas “prefer?”

6. What is Aquinas’ view on tyranny?

7. What is Aquinas’ view on the relationship between church and state?


Chapter 8: Dante and Marsilius: The End of Medieval Political Unity
1. Dante is best known as the author of what?

2. What is the best way, according to Dante, to achieve world peace?

3. Dante sees governments as remedies for what?

4. Why is Marsilius a “radical” writer?



5. How does Marsilius define “law?”

6. What “major change” does Marsilius propose?

7. What does Marsilius see as a major cause of discord in the affairs of the state?
Chapter 9: Machiavelli: Escaping Anarchy
1. To whom is The Prince dedicated?

2. How does Machiavelli describe human nature?

3. Machiavelli is the first political thinker to focus on what as a positive political concept?

4. Who has the “right” to govern according to Machiavelli?

5. Anyone wishing to be a part of the elite must be what?

6. Elites should stuffy what?

7. How does Machiavelli think of “the masses?”

8. What is a “key difference” between elites and masses?

9. How can people “limit” the influence of fortune?

10. What does Machiavelli mean by virtue?

11. What are the “chief foundations” of all states?

12. What two types of governments does Machiavelli see?



13. How should the ruler think about and act in relation to religion?

14. Machiavelli suggests “the vulgar” are always “taken in” with what?

15. What is the institutional context for modern political philosophy?

Chapter 10: Luther and Calvin: The Religious Basis of Modern Political Thought

1. What did Protestant reformers stress?

2. Protestant reformers are also said to have “emphasized” what?

3. The Reformation is also said to have been “directed at” what?

4. What was conciliarism?

5. What caused Luther’s early disagreement with the Catholic Church?



6. What are the “three walls” which Luther spoke of?

7. Calvin is said to have “paved the way” for what?


Chapter 12: Hobbes: Securing Peace
1. What event was believed by some to have been caused by the appearance of Leviathan?

2. Hobbes understanding of politics was influenced by what spirit?



3. What three motives shape human nature?

4. Does Hobbes believe in the state of nature?

5. Hobbes suggests each person has a “natural right” to what?

6. Are individuals “equal” by nature?

7. The “first and fundamental” law of nature is to seek what?

8. What is the “surest basis” for accomplishing what is sought in the previous question?

9. What do “covenants” require in order to have “strength?”

10. What does the word “sovereign” mean in Hobbes’s writing?

11. Is the sovereign correctly described as a “party to” the “contract?”

12. What limits can be placed on the sovereign?

13. What is the fundamental purpose of religion according to Hobbes?

14. When can the “right to self-defense” be activated once again?


Chapter 13: Locke: Protecting Property
1. Name Locke’s foremost political work.

2. Explain tabula rasa.

3. Locke’s account of human nature and the state of nature are predicated on what?

4. What distinguishes humans from other animals?

5. Does Lock see humans as being “social” by nature?

6. What right do all have in nature?

7. Explain Locke’s labor theory of estate.

8. What are the two qualifications on the above theory?

9. Describe what governs people in the state of nature.

10. How is unanimity related to Locke’s “contract?”

11. What is the “great and chief” end of government?

12. What two types of governments are rejected by Locke?

13. What branch of government should be “supreme” in Locke’s view?

14. What form of government does Locke favor for large nation states?

15. When does Locke see a collective right to revolution existing?
Chapter 14: Rousseau: Establishing Democracy
1. What position did Rousseau take in his award-winning essay?

2. What did Rousseau say about charges (or criticisms) of paradox in his work?

3. What are two “instinctive principles” according to Rousseau?

4. Describe Rousseau’s “state of nature.”

5. What “twin evils” bring about “civilization?”

6. How does Rousseau see the relationship between law and economics?

7. What is the sense of a “dual,” or “two-stage contract?”

8. What is the only legitimate source of law and governmental action according to Rousseau?

9. What does Rousseau’s “general will” require?



10. Describe how the “general will” is discovered.

11. Why does Rousseau denounce representative democracy?



Chapter 16: Hume, Burke, and Kant: Critics and Defenders of the Enlightenment

1. What is Hume’s view of the source of “ideas?”

2. What are two implications of Hume’s views?

3. What popular political ideas does Hume question?

4. Burke is especially critical of what?

5. Why does Burke praise the Revolution of 1688?

6. What is Burke’s general view of change?

7. What is Burke’s view of the so-called “social contract?”

8. The second edition of Kant’s major work was modified because of what event?

9. What probably prompted the writing of Kant’s major work?

10. What is said to be “significant” about Kant’s argument?

11. Kant suggests that we may have to do what to preserve political and philosophical truths?


Chapter 17: Mill: Grounding Liberty
1. Define / explain utilitarianism.

2. What does Mill compare human nature to?

3. What does Mill see as the “linchpin” of a moral society?

4. What is the “honor and glory” of the “average” man?

5. What type of “tyranny” is Mill particularly concerned with?

6. What does “liberty” consist of?

7. To whom does Mill’s argument for “liberty” apply?

8. What is the “major aim” of liberty?



9. What are Mill’s views on marriage and reproduction?

10. What are two reasons government and society should not interfere with private actions?



11. When would Mill justify a “limit” on “opinion?”

12. What are three justifications for allowing free expression of opinions contrary to accepted beliefs?

13. When is individual decision making preferable to that of government?

14. When does government work best according to Mill?



15. Describe Mill’s views on the right to vote?
Chapter 18: Marx: Revealing History’s Meaning
1. Marx believed political uprisings could only be understood when linked to what?

2. Marx transformed ideas that he found in the work of what thinker?



3. Describe the above thinker’s view of “the dialectic.”

4. What does Marx consider to be the “motor for progress?”

5. Marx suggests that “the point” philosophy is to do what?

6. What does Marx consider “the key” to human history?

7. How do “classes” originate?”

8. What does the “superstructure” include?

9. What does Marx consider to be the “heart of the problem?”

10. What is the future of countries and nationalism?

11. What is “the final goal of history?”

12. Who will do the dirty / low wage / low prestige but necessary work according to Marx?


Chapter 19: Postmodern Political Thought: Freud, Nietzsche, and the End of Reason
1. Freud is considered the father of what?

2. What does Freud consider important in his analysis of human nature?

3. Freud applied his theory of psychoanalysis to what?

4. Freud argued all individuals seek what?

5. This search is then thwarted by what three factors?

6. What is Freud’s view of how we see our neighbors?

7. What is the “decisive step” of civilization?

8. What is the “glue” that holds society together?

9. What propels individuals toward civilization?

10. Freud holds that the social contract calls for a “renunciation” of what?

11. What does Nietzsche consider master morality to be like?

12. When did the transvaluation of values start?

13. Nietzsche considers what offshoots of modernity to be symptomatic of slave morality?



14. Nietzsche suggests philosophers have substituted what for religion?

15. What three themes of Nietzsche have influenced other postmodern thinkers?


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