POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: EUROPEAN LENS KEY IDEAS INFLUENCE ON FOUNDERS Plato & Aristotle School of Athens, by Raphael PLATO- Republic (360 BCE) People are just or unjust Does not support democracy Believes only a few are virtuous and intelligent enough to rule (philosopher-kings) Let them rule Plato & Aristotle in General True ► True Knowledge is Knowledge found is found “above”, in “here”, in the world of the world ideas. of things. ARISTOTLE- Politics (350 BCE) More liberal than Plato Believes people can be taught to be virtuous and reasonable- someone chooses to be virtuous Still believes in aristocracy ruling MACHIAVELLI- The Prince (1513) To a prince, then, it is not necessary to have the qualities written of above, but it is necessary to seem to have them Not to depart from the good, whenever possible, but to know how to enter into evil, whenever necessary Let, then, a prince act in such a manner as to conquer and maintain his estate . . . HOBBES- Leviathan- (1651) English philosopher believed that an absolute monarch could best keep the “social contract.” State of nature=chaos, anarchy, etc Life is “solitary,nasty, brutish, and short” LOCKE- Two Treatises of Government (1690) English philosopher who argued governments are created to protect our “natural rights” of life, liberty and property. Believes in consent of the governed If leader does not hold up end of the bargain, it can be replaced (overthrown) MONTESQUIEU (1748) ROUSSEAU (1762) Montesquieu: French philosopher who argued for a monarchy but under a system of “Separation of Powers.” Executive, legislative, judicial • Rousseau: Swiss philosopher who believed direct democracy would best ensure peoples’ freedoms.
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