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24 Aug Tamar Gendler: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Politics and Economics



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Tamar Gendler, Department of Philosophy Chair at Yale University, Cognitive Scientist

Who gets what and who says so? These two questions underlie and inform every social arrangement from the resolution of schoolyard squabbles to the meta-structure of human societies. They are also the basis of political philosophy. Professor Tamar Gendler uses the work of three titans of the discipline, Thomas Hobbes, John Rawls, and Robert Nozick, as a lens to guide us through the taut debate about the role of government in society, asking “Will we embrace the radical state of nature or will we surrender our freedom to the leviathan of the state?”

The Floating University
Originally released September 2011.

Additional Lectures:
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Joel Cohen: An Introduction to Demography (Malthus Miffed: Are People the Problem?)

Steven Pinker: Linguistics as a Window to Understanding the Brain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-B_ONJIEcE

Leon Botstein: Art Now (Aesthetics Across Music, Painting, Architecture, Movies, and More.)

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MOST RECENT COMMENTS
29 Comments
  • Stuart Wray
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    She sounds like the 'nutty professor' – having said that, she is very good.

  • Cute the Cutie
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Wait, so why did you guys use an anachronistic painting of Aristotle?

  • Liomar Baru
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Not helping is not the same as harming, that example against utilitarianism is just wrong, its a false equivalency.

  • Daniel Blois
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Holy Shit, an academic Professor admitted that Taxation is theft? is this a dream?

  • Daniel Blois
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    The problem with many political philosophers is they ignore a fundamental question: does anyone have the right to rule?

  • Tucker Craft
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Is there a way to download these graphics for notes?

  • Bruce Kern
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Is there any videos–anywhere!–that deals exculsively with the original intent of philosophy. I can't ever find anything that sticks just to idea of "loving" "Sophia," the female personification of Wisdom. The only thing I can find is Jung's more contemporary idea of "the Anima." I'd like to find something from the ancient philosophers that deals exclusively with exactly what it means to "love Sophia" because I think it has more to do with an esoteric description of an inner directed search. This political non-sense bores me, and I also think it's just off track of what the ancient philosophers were referring to. Somebody help!!

  • Susan Fitzpatrick
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Excellent presentation making the subject easy accessible and comprehensible. Thank you. I enjoyed it enormously

  • Shyam Francis
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    I liked and she is lucky to learn from both the stalwarts…

  • Nicole M
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Great overview of "what is politics about?" from a fundamental level!

  • stevenhs8821
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    How does one get unowned resources? Pre-Leviathan or Leviathan doesn't apply to current owners like indigenous people. Whatever you can grab. The worst theft of all.

  • stevenhs8821
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Prisoners' dilemma doesn't really apply to complex interactions. You don't have to disarm completely. Especially with nuclear weapons, what if your policy was to spend 90% of your adversary's spending?

  • Ersatz Erik
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Bravo. Great lecture. This really is the big question of our time, isn't it? Is liberal democracy capable of surviving in the face of global catastrophes? What happens when the whole world becomes a "tragedy of the commons?" Unwavering respect for the rights of the individual will lead us all to ruin. We may have no choice but to embrace a future of "Duty" over "Liberty" … we are not ready in the slightest.

  • Antonio Fernandes
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    The tragedy of the commons was already solved by Bart Simpson and his "Don't have a cow, man" theory.

  • Sach huynh thien
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Thank you for your online lectures! Tamar Gendler. I think these knowledge good enough to infuence people around the world.More Wonderful, if there be Vietnamese subtitles on your Yale open courses!

  • Nicholas Gergetz
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Want to win a debate? Frame the question. If you determine what is being debated and in what terms and context that thing can be debated in, and you've framed the question in a calculated way, you've "won" the debate before it's begun. Keep that in mind as she explores these two questions she frames. Think about what she presupposes when she poses these questions:
    "What is the appropriate division of rights and responsibilities?"
    "How should the legitimate concerns of liberty and equality be balanced?"

    I think one of the most obvious observations one could make by hearing these two sentences is that she has already implicitly accepted the assumption that both liberty and equality are legitimate concerns. That's a lot of normative judgment entering in, or at the very least it's a lot of positive judgments not elaborated on here. Either way, just be aware that this isn't just an exploration of political philosophy; it's an exploration of political philosophy according to her. Which is still valuable to listen to, I just think some people commit themselves to smallthink after having watched a Big Think video.

  • Nicholas Gergetz
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    To be clear, the United States of America is not a democracy. It has democratic elements, but it is a constitutional republic. Worlds of difference.

  • M Krump
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    33:52 money is not liberty. Money does not have your name on the bill. Money is belong to your government. Nozick believe that money give you power when and philosophy is the money that own your ideas and the same money limit your power. This though is a lights through capitalist Utopian serves to collectivities which will never have enough money because power does not want to offer itself to collectivity. In this path of view UDS army and NASA dont have the right to exist…
    37:00 Yeah its call: knowing its limit and adapt to his upgrading knowledge.

  • M Krump
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    25:05 You must get knowledge to take the third choice. a society based on monopoly does not count the portions that is distributed either but only the portions that's inputting and cuts on the portion that outputting.
    I live in the 3e society and 50% of the pay is going back to social services with low crimes rates.

  • Thunder Kat
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Taking one life to save millions take away the concept of safety in a society and that worth billions…Problem solve… slow claps to your argument

  • Renato Valente
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Mediocre lecture that would feel at home on government sponsored presentations in Venezuela, North Korea, Russia or China.

  • Ameha K
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Professor chidi anagonye, moral philosophy and ethics. The good place.

  • Ibraham Lincon
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Amazing women!

  • Huppim Muppim & Ard
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Bloodshed anarchy degradation ignorance spread the wealth

  • Essential G
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    O loved this! Does take provide any on line philosophy degrees? Are their political philosophy degrees available in the tri state area?

  • Christopher Canon
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Nozick completely misses the mark regarding property. The free accumulation of property regardless of the consequences to others cannot hold legitimacy. Through ownership of property you can acquire wealth, and by wealth more property. And ultimately if wealth and property accumulates you will end up with a king who owns virtually everything. So property right must be invalid, or at least the free accumulation of property. Property must be evenly divided as the principles of Rousseau and Rawls suggests.

  • JC Lester
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    The most important aspect of human society is science and objective relativistic truth. With out those two things we are living in a chaotic world of hypocrisy, especially in the form of religion and government. Humans need to quit with the anthropocentric and ego driven ideals hidden under the idea that we are divine and the earth was made for us. Maybe then we will finally focus on building a sustainable future for the planet, instead of being so parasitic and destructive to it. Maybe we could start working with nature, instead of trying to conquer it. Maybe we could turn the American dream into a sustainable one, based on science, nature and truth. Instead of an ego driven economic free for all, where your dreams are sold to you through propaganda and politicians.

  • blamtasticful
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

  • Paul Adams
    Posted at 14:17h, 24 August

    Nozick is ridiculous, his so called philosophy is just apseudo intellectual justification designed to appease the conscience of the rich and powerful ( if they have one.) The rich want to benefit from Society having laws in place to protect their property guarded by police and the army have subsidized roads to drive their fancy cars on but don't wish to pay for any of it because than that would "theft". The rich have no problem with the draft just so long as their kids never have to go. Just look at chicken hawks like Trump, Bush Junior and the rest of their chums, no War for them.

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