UNCONVENTIONAL INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
It is actually a miracle that societies are organized and can be governed. Even more amazing is that we want and can do this democratically, and that we have rights. Of course it is not uncommon for things to go badly wrong. And even when things go well, everything is still skewed. According to Immanuel Kant “people are crooked wood, which cannot be used to make straight cuts”. Political philosophy is about the how and why of the crooked, about the nature of the wood, and about the art of – more or less – rightly working on man and his society.
Political philosophy is therefore not so much modeling as a reflection on how people try to formulate their interests, conflicts, beliefs and ideals and how these relate to the society in which they live. Themes such as power, authority, language, self-understanding, state, law, public, plurality, protest, democracy, representation and citizenship have traditionally played a role in this.
The society changes over time. This creates new solutions, new problems, new citizens, and new topics. This is how subjects such as Enlightenment, Romanticism, modernity, totalitarianism, participation and populism enter political philosophy. But also issues such as migration, minorities, discrimination, ecology, ‘alternative facts’, and decolonization.
This addresses some of these issues, in thematic form – themes such as authority, freedom, pluralism, insurrection, power, nationality and more. Classical political-philosophical insights come along, along with all kinds of current issues from media and daily life. But also contemporary insights from new political philosophy, and controversial discussions from politics.
So we should learn to see better how political issues, it is better to understood by setting them against the background of classical and modern political thought, and vice versa, how this political thinking is always gaining relevance through the experiences of ourselves as political beings, or citizens. Politics is a struggle for order, and order is a struggle – a shaky balance that can be found and maintained only through permanent self-examination.
As a result, stronger sense of the complex nature of political drama as evidenced by everyday life and history, and a broader repertoire of ideas and insights to reflect on.
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