Political Science | Political Philosophy: Moderation and Radicalism (3 Cr)
Y675 | 3494 | Craiutu

The purpose of this course is to explore the issues of moderation and
radicalism in the works of ancient, modern, and contemporary
political philosophers. The questions that we’ll address are: How do
moderate and radical minds operate? What are they seeking in politics
and how do they view political life? What are the prerequisites of
sound political judgment? What is political wisdom and what are its
features? What are the virtues and limitations of moderation in
politics? Why have philosophers’ ideas proved to be dangerous when
applied to politics? Are philosophers who aim at grand theory bound
to be reckless minds when thinking about politics? What role can or
should abstract speculation play in matters where good judgment seems
to be paramount? What are the differences between theoretical reason
and practical reason or political wisdom? When possible, we shall try
to pair a moderate mind with a radical one in order to answer the
questions listed above. We shall read relevant selections from a wide
range of authors including: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli,
Montesquieu, Rousseau, Hume, Burke, Paine, Robespierre, Maistre,
Tocqueville, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Heidegger, Schmitt, Sartre,
Arendt, Oakeshott, Cioran, Foucault, and Aron. Mark Lilla’s The
Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics will provide the background
for our discussions. The requirements for this course include a
research paper (due at the end of the semester), short reviews, and
an oral presentation.