Week 8-Political participation (class) (1).pptx

Week 8-Political participation (class) (1).pptx - Is...

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Is political participation necessary to the good lif e? Week 8 1
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Short essay question “Political participation does not foster virtue, but rather requires it.” Do you agree? Submission date: 5 April (Sunday) at or b efore 11:59pm. 2
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Lecture outline I. Popular perceptions of political parti cipation II. Aristotle’s political animals III. The educative function of political participation IV. Doubts about participation V. Conclusion 3
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I. Popular perceptions of polit ical participation Common perception: politics is dirty and nasty, and people participate in it only for instrumental reasons Self-regarding: Personal power or fame Pursuit of self-interests Other-regarding: Pursuit of social justice, democracy, or civ il liberties – the common good 4
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I. Popular perceptions of polit ical participation But is political participation valuable f or the participants’ own well-being or f lourishing? Is it necessary to the good life? 5
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I. Popular perceptions of polit ical participation The modern distinction between the politi cal and social The political – the sphere of the state’ s institutions and activities Formal participation: in government, legisla ture, elections Informal: Activities that seek to influence government policies and laws The social – families, friends, schools, workplace, social groups 6
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I. Popular perceptions of polit ical participation Modern people seem to have a much more fa vorable view of the social sphere than th e political. The social sphere engages our emotions and d eep commitment The political sphere is fearful and is respe cted only insofar as it protects us from inj ury and delivers us goods. 7
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I. Popular perceptions of politic al participation Benjamin Constant (1767-1830, Swiss-French poli tical thinker): The Liberty of the Ancients com pared with that of the Moderns (speech of 1819) Modern liberty – freedom from the state, “enj oyment of private pleasures” and “private ind ependence” guaranteed by law Ancient liberty – freedom to take part in the state, “sharing of social power among the citi zens”, “exercise of political rights” 8
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II. Aristotle’s political animals Some contemporary scholars have argued again st the popular perceptions: Political participation is important to peopl e’s pursuit of the good life They often draw upon the famous claim of Ari stotle: “Man is by nature a political animal ( zoon p olitikon )” (Politics, 1253a 7-18) But what does that claim mean? 9
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II. Aristotle’s political anim als Zoon politikon : two interpretations (1) animal that lives in a polis (polis-anim al) (2) animal that lives in a collaborative group I think both are right, but (2) is more accura te and basic.
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