Tuesday October 2nd: Seminar 1: In our first seminar we were assigned to our seminar topics and I chose Plato, Aristotle and the classical theory of state as I enjoy pretty much anything to do with the Classical world!
Tuesday October 16th: Seminar 2: History of Western Philosophy (Book 3, Part 1, Chapters 1-9): Renaissance to Descartes. Previous notes on our second lecture: A Timeline of Western Civilisation: https://brackenstockley.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/history-and-context-a-timeline-of-western-civilisation/
In our seminar we focused on discussions surrounding the Italian Renaissance and the new range of concepts and ideas; with the ‘rebirth’ of classical literature, art, architecture, trade and wealth. We also looked at Machiavelli and his book The Prince and how power was won, held and lost. We explored the lives of Erasmus and Thomas More who were exemplars of the northern Renaissance and also the Reformation and the Counter – Reformation. We also briefly looked at the rise of science, Hobbes’s philosophy and Descartes.
Tuesday October 30th: Seminar 3: History of Western Philosophy (Book 1, Part 2, Chapters 14 & 21): Plato’s Utopia and Aristotle’s Politics. Previous notes on lecture: Classical Theory of State: Ideas of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle: https://brackenstockley.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/history-and-context-classical-theory-of-state/
Discussions from my seminar paper: https://brackenstockley.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/hcj-discussions-from-my-seminar-paper-platos-utopia-and-aristotles-politics/
Tuesday November 13th: Seminar 4: History of Western Philosophy (Book 3, Part 1,Chapters 3 & 8): Machiavelli and Hobbes’s Leviathan. Previous notes on lecture: Hobbes, Machiavelli and The Godfather: https://brackenstockley.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/history-and-context-hobbes-machiavelli-and-the-godfather/
In our fourth seminar we looked in greater detail at Machiavelli and his political philosophy in The Prince (1513). We discussed the idea that there may be more than one morality; the morality of the prince, and the morality of the people, and that these two moralities may not be compatible with each other. We also took a greater look at Hobbes’s Leviathan in which Hobbes puts forward his ideas on social contract theory and the State, which are regarded to be the foundation for modern political philosophy. The ideas he sets out are based upon his view of the ‘state of nature’ (before any form of government, law or society had been established) which he describes as “nasty, brutish and short”.
Tuesday November 27th: Seminar 5: History of Western Philosophy (Book 3, Chapters 18 & 19: The Romantic Movement and Rousseau, and Kenneth Clarke’s Civilisation: The fallacies of hope. Previous notes on lecture: https://brackenstockley.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/history-and-context-rousseau-and-the-french-revolution/
In our final seminar we discussed The Romantic Movement and Rousseau. The Romantic Movement/Romanticism represents changes in society, beginning in the 18th century and continuing into our own time. It represented a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ and a reaction against the scientific rationalisation of nature. We looked at the importance of Jean-Jacques Rousseau who famously wrote The Social Contract. He believed that society was corrupt and would only have a negative effect on a person.