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Power Over People - Classic and Modern Political Theory, Tapes, TTC

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Power Over People - Classic and Modern Political Theory, Tapes, TTC
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Sep. 22, 2017 21:52:01 PDT
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Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory

Taught By Professor Dennis Dalton, Ph.D., University of London,
Barnard College, Columbia University


From the publisher:

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Marx, Gandhi—these exceptional thinkers sculpted, piece by piece, Western political thought from its inception in 5th-century (B.C.) Athens.

In so doing, they grappled with such imposing questions as:

  • What is the correct relationship of the individual to society?
  • What is the connection between individual freedom and social and political authority?
  • Are human beings fundamentally equal or unequal?

In 16 in-depth lectures, Professor Dennis Dalton puts the key theories of power formulated by several of history's greatest minds within your reach.

Dr. Dalton traces two distinct schools of political theory, idealism and realism, from their roots in ancient India and Greece through history and, ultimately, to their impact on the 20th century—via the lives and ideas of two charismatic, yet utterly disparate, leaders: Adolph Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi.

Explore the Fundamental Questions of Western Political Theory

Professor Dalton (Ph.D., Political Theory, University of London) was dubbed by Newsday "the guru of Barnard"; his courses are so popular that the Columbia Student Guide warns, "To get a seat in his class, you must arrive half an hour early (we're not joking.)"

The issues Professor Dalton addresses in these lectures—and in Western political theory generally—fall into three sets of fundamental questions.

His lectures show how these competing theories of political power address these three sets of questions. And the lectures show how those answers determine when it is legitimate for one person to have power over another.

The first set of fundamental questions involves the essential characteristics of human nature and the good society.

Is human nature essentially spirit or matter? Is it directed by reason or dominated by passion? Is it fixed or malleable? Is it innately sinful, aggressive, and violent, or is it fundamentally benign, cooperative, and nonviolent?

Will the good society be characterized by perfect harmony or by continued conflict? If conflict is inevitable in the good society, must it be controlled through the leader's discretionary use of coercive power, or can it be contained constructively within political institutions?

Are social unity and harmony achievable or even desirable? Do the progress and vigor of society depend, by contrast, upon some form of struggle?

The second set of fundamental questions involves the relationship between the individual and society.

What is the right relationship of the individual to society? What is the relationship of individual freedom to social and political authority?

What constitutes legitimate political authority? Does it come ultimately from God, the state, or the individual? Are human beings fundamentally equal or unequal?

The final set of fundamental questions involves theories of change.

Are there inexorable laws of history that produce change? What role is played by discretionary leadership or moral values in effecting change? Is an unchanging, enduring, universal system of ethical values possible? Must such a system be grounded in a theory of absolute truth?

If an enduring, universal system of values is possible, what precisely are those values, and what is their relevance for political and social action? Should transformative leadership be based on the hard facts of political reality and human weakness or on the knowledge of absolute truth? Is the most fundamental change ideological, economic, or psychological in nature?

Should agents of change pursue reform through gradual, evolutionary means, or should they pursue the total transformation of society and human nature through revolution? Should radical change be pursued through violence or nonviolence? Should it rely mainly on spontaneity or on authoritarian organization?

Are There Definitive Answers? Addressing Those Fundamental Questions

Those questions orient our study of a wide range of theories of power and its use. Professor Dalton contrasts Plato's idealism with Aristotle's realism, Marx's optimism with Freud's pessimism, and Hitler's exclusionism and exaltation of violence with Gandhi's inclusionism and insistence on nonviolence.

"For centuries such questions have eluded final solution, and we should not expect to answer them definitively here," says Professor Dalton. "The questions should prompt us, however, to think more deeply about ourselves, the standards that guide our behavior, and our obligations, if any, to society."

As Professor Dalton addresses these fundamental questions, you'll learn, for example, how Hindu idealism prefigured Socratic and Platonic thought in emphasis upon self-mastery and its focus on teaching by example.

You'll understand exactly how Plato's Republic set the parameters for subsequent Western political theory.

You'll examine how Machiavelli's brutally realistic theories about politics marked the transition between the classical and modern political traditions.

You'll study the Romantic idealism—the social and political utopias, if you will—of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx.

Professor Dalton also shares several unique perspectives to better explain the realism vs. idealism debate.

You will, for instance, examine the writings of the Greek playwright Sophocles, whose long-celebrated work Antigoneoffers a literary context for Plato's philosophy, where the state is an agent of virtue.

You'll also explore psychiatrist Sigmund Freud's pessimistic vision of man, which contrasted sharply with those of Rousseau and Marx.

And, you learn how author Henry David Thoreau, in his timeless work, Civil Disobedience, echoed the Hindu tradition and emphatically rejected a fundamental contention of Plato and Aristotle that the state has any moral authority.

Finally, Professor Dalton takes you on an intellectual expedition that juxtaposes and explores Hitler's violent politics of exclusion with Gandhi's equally powerful, but strictly non-violent, politics of inclusion.

What You Will Learn

Through this course you will be able to:

  • Identify the fundamental questions and concerns that shape classical and modern political theory.
  • Explain the essential differences between the "idealist" and "realist" traditions in political theory.
  • Describe the influence of one's understanding of human nature upon one's vision of the good society.
  • Compare and contrast the views of theorists regarding the purpose of the state, the relationship between politics and ethics, and the qualifications for exercising political power.
  • Discuss views of leading political theorists regarding the meaning of freedom, the sources of legitimate political authority, the legitimacy of individual resistance against constituted authority, and the obligations of individuals to the state or society.
  • Distinguish among the differing attitudes toward the use of violence that are held by the theorists examined in this course.

This set of 4 audio cassette tapes with lecture synopsis booklet in clamshell case originally sold for almost $130 plus s/h, and is still available from the publisher for almost $30 and up. Get yours here for less. WYSIWYG.

Credex is now also offered as an accepted means for payment. Don't have a Google Checkout/Wallet account? Contact me for details on how to sign up for Credex.

Thanks for looking and happy bidding/buying.

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Shipping & Payment DetailsPayment is expected within 24 hours of winning bid unless prior arrangements have been made and mutually agreed to. Mastercard and Visa direct payment options are accepted. Contact me for details. Buyer discounts may be offered if purchasing multiple items and combined shipping is selected. Additional discounts may be offered for repeat customers. All discounts are at Seller discretion.

Shipping is done within one business day upon receipt of confirmed payment. A nominal packaging and handling fee is included in the cost of shipping, which is based on weight, size and distance. Shipping is also available to APO/FPO addresses in accordance with postal regulations. International shipping cost will be higher, and will be added to the invoice. International bidders/buyers: contact me for an estimate of shipping costs BEFORE bidding or buying. Save us both a lot of grief. Thank you. Insurance is optional and will be paid for by the buyer. Combined shipping for multiple items is available as well. If Free domestic shipping is offered with Buy Now, it will be done via the most cost-efficient means as determined by the Seller. Thank you.

1. PayPal payment is no longer accepted. However, local purchases can be paid via Credit or Debit Card using Square payment method. Postal money order is accepted, along with direct Credit or Debit card.
2.We cannot arrange the shipments on the weekend or public holidays.
3.Your orders will be shipped out within 48 hours after your payment is verified (Saturdays & .Sundays are excluded) . 
All of goods will be sent by Economy delivery with tracking number.
4.Please be advised that the international delivery highly depends on your local customs and your local post service.
5.We can ship your orders only to your confirmed address. Your address and full name on your means of payment must match your shipping address unless other arrangements have been made beforehand and mutually agreed to in writing.
6.International Buyers, Please Note: The buyer is responsible for any applicable import duties and local taxes. Please verify your customs duties before purchase.
RETURN POLICY: Customer satisfaction is a priority, and I will gladly accept a return if the item was significantly not as described and/or grossly misadvertised, and only if I receive the item in the same condition as when shipped. Returned items are subject to a 25% restocking fee. It is the buyer's responsibility to ask questions about any issues or concerns PRIOR to bidding on or purchasing an item. Unless otherwise stated, all items listed are AS IS and only guaranteed against arriving D.O.A. If the item arrives damaged in transit or otherwise claimed as significantly not as described, the buyer must provide documented evidence to support that claim. Buyer pays shipping for returning the item and the funds will be reimbursed as soon as the item is back in my possession via the same method item was paid for, exchange or store credit, (your choice) in exactly the same condition in which it was received. No returns or refunds on software. Shipping & handling charges are non refundable, you will receive a refund of the original purchase price only. Allow 4-6 weeks for a refund to be issued.

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