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Intro

Coursera: Moral Foundations of Politics

 with  Ian Shapiro
Class Central Course Rank
#3 in Subjects > Social Sciences > Political Science

When do governments deserve our allegiance, and when should they be denied it?

This course explores the main answers that have been given to this question in the modern West. We start with a survey of the major political theories of the Enlightenment: Utilitarianism, Marxism, and the social contract tradition. In each case, we begin with a look at classical formulations, locating them in historical context, but then shift to the contemporary debates as they relate to politics today.

Next, we turn to the rejection of Enlightenment political thinking, again exploring both classical and contemporary formulations. The last part of the course deals with the nature of, and justifications for, democratic politics, and their relations to Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment political thinking.

In addition to exploring theoretical differences among the various authors discussed, considerable attention is devoted to the practical implications of their competing arguments. To this end, we discuss a variety of concrete problems, including debates about economic inequality, affirmative action and the distribution of health care, the limits of state power in the regulation of speech and religion, and difficulties raised by the emerging threat of global environmental decay.

Syllabus

Welcome to Moral Foundations of Politics
Welcome to the course. Meet your instructor and learn about the structure of the course and what about it makes it distinctive.

Enlightenment Political Theory
This module explores what makes a government legitimate. More specifically, was the Third Reich illegitimate and was Eichmann breaking some kind of higher law here?

Utilitarianism: Classical and Neoclassical
Classical and neoclassical utilitarianism are examined in this module starting with the historical context. Professor Shapiro then shifts to the contemporary debates as they relate to politics today.

Marxism, Its Failures and Its Legacy
This module on Marx's Enlightenment theory focuses on the foundations of capitalism theory and its major weaknesses.

The Social Contract Tradition I
This module looks at classical formulations of the Social Contract Tradition, locating them in historical context, but then shifts to the contemporary debates as they relate to politics today.

The Social Contract Tradition II
This module looks at classical formulations of the Social Contract Tradition, locating them in historical context, but then shifts to the contemporary debates as they relate to politics today.

Anti-Enlightenment Politics
This module explores the rejection of Enlightenment political thinking, again exploring both classical and contemporary formulations.

Democracy
This module deals with the nature of, and justifications for, democratic politics, and their relations to Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment political thinking.

13 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Pace Upcoming
Institution Yale University
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Hours 12-15 hours a week
Calendar 8 weeks long
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13 reviews for Coursera's Moral Foundations of Politics

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Miguel Teixeira is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Really interesting course mostly about Political Philosophy but that inevitable reaches economy, Ethics, Justice and other areas of Philosophy. I would really recommend it for all interested in a broad introduction to the basis of Political Sciences, Economics or Philosophy. The cases and examples Prof. Shapiro brings Read More
Really interesting course mostly about Political Philosophy but that inevitable reaches economy, Ethics, Justice and other areas of Philosophy. I would really recommend it for all interested in a broad introduction to the basis of Political Sciences, Economics or Philosophy. The cases and examples Prof. Shapiro brings are almost always interesting and challenging and it really fascinated me to find how much philosophical history and debate there is behind seemingly simple things and mainstream ideas. I is also helpful for everyone trying to figure out their own political group. Is really goes to the basics of the ideas of wealth redistribution, economic systems, and naturally the always present question about government legitimacy.

I am just giving the course 4 stars because the videos in black and white are not so captivating, the quizzes have too easy questions, sometimes just a yes/no question, and there could be more readable material. If considering only the interest of the theme, the selected philosophers and the quality of the classes it would easily be 5 stars.
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3 months ago
Dave Rawlings audited this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
A very useful introduction to political philosophy that goes through a number of traditions from (and against) the Enlightenment and ending with democracy. It focuses on the traditions, the rationale behind them and the problems with them. The delivery of the material is a little one dimensional, but the basic information is there and there is the opportunity to read further if you wish.
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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Engaging and fascinating course touching on history, political philosophy and economics. A good introduction to these challenging topics and a rewarding experience.
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Cláudio Tereso partially completed this course.
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Diego Riccardi partially completed this course.
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a year ago
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