EARLY MODERN SOCIAL THEORY
ENDS JUSTIFY MEANS: MACHIAVELLI AND MODERNITY
Ends justifying the means. Machiavelli wants peace and security and does not mind
certain injustices and untruths along the way so long a peace and security is
successfully achieved. This is a new way of seeing things. Instead of focus on the ideal
state, Here we have a how to manual on getting and holding onto power.
Required Reading: Machiavellis The Prince in Curtis section 7, p 215-229
(suggested) Weblink for entire book the Prince:
Video summary of The Prince
Video: Machiavelli A timely documentary:
Documentary, BBC Imagine: Who’s Afraid of Machiavelli?
CONSTITUTIONALISM: ROUSSEAU AND LOCKE
The meaning of the protestant reformation against traditional authority, Divine right vs.
the rise of the secular world view. Rousseau and the French tradition of Social optimism.
Hobbes, Locke and the English tradition of Social pessimism. The idea of the social
contract and the rise of constitutional law.
ROUSSEAUS ROMANIC SOCIAL THEORY
Required reading: Curtis, p 15-34
Social Contract theory: Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. (7 minutes) this is a very helpful
video for the next two essays. Watch it carefully once or twice.
Rousseaus social contract theory . A weird and goofy cartoon but seems to
spell things out in a simple way.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Who was Rouseau?
Introduction to Rousseau another intro but with interesting images.
Rosseau on Education:
Rousseau on education A really well done documentary.
A more detailed presentation on Rousseaus ideas on education. (15 minutes)
Rousseau on Education whiteboard animation. (3 mins)
Readings: John Locke in Section 12, vol 1 in Curtis. P 372-389
Video on Locke:
3 min (sort of funny) video on Lock
Video on the difference between Locke and Hobbs
Prompt outline for Essay 3
8-10 pages, APA format
Part 1. Machievelli
Based on the required readings, show your comprehension of the main ideas of
1. Most importantly, how does he see the relation between political (and ethical)
means and ends? (go into some detail here from the required reading)
2. The use of religion
3. The use of violence
4. In what exact ways does Machiavellis realism diverge from the idealistic
perspectives of both Plato and Aristotle?
5. Give concrete examples of his legacy in our contemporary political reality?
6. What can we support in his ideas and what should make us anxious about his
Part 2. Rousseau:
1. From the videos, show you grasp Rousseaus basically positive conception of
the state of nature and therefore human nature.
2. Show how this is different from the social theory of Hobbes and Locke.
Rousseau says: Man is born free, yet is everywhere in chains. What does he
mean by this?
3. From the videos show you understand his ideas of the noble savage and his
theory of education.
4. From the reading, show you understand Rousseaus conception of
1. the social compact or what he calls the general will.
2. The sovereign power
3. Civil religion
5. What can be the dark side of the general will? In other words, can there
be a dictatorship of the majority against the rights of the minority?
Part 3. Locke
1. Based on the required readings, show your comprehension of the main
political ideas of John Locke. Very importantly, what are his views of nature
and human nature, human rights, the public trust, the place of revolution,
the structure of government, and the meaning of the people?
2. What do you recognize in Lockes ideas with regard to our contemporary
American understanding of representative governance and human rights?
3. How do human rights protect us from the tyranny of the majority?
4. How is Lockes representative vision of democracy different from that of the
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