We will reconsider the commonly used terms 'idealism' and 'realism,' 'theory' and 'practice' in light of prominent works of political philosophy that are devoted to the study of human aspirations to peace and justice in both domestic and international politics. Through an attentive reading of Machiavelli’s infamous work The Prince (and selected readings) we will consider how a philosophical or radical realism can give birth to a daring venture, both ruthless and humane, to revolutionize both political thought and practice. Then, by way of a careful interpretation of Plato’s Republic, we will consider how philosophical engagement with political 'idealism' can give rise to a kind of thoroughgoing realism, and a complete transformation of our moral and political aspirations. (Not offered 2018-19).
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