Political Judgement(2)

Term: Fall 2009

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 6491

What is political judgment? What is the relationship between moral, political and historical judgment? What constitutes good political judgment? Under what conditions does it matter? How should we seek to explain the possibilities, limits and outcomes of politics in light of its importance? This course addresses these fundamental questions. The first part examines the selective writings of several key thinkers—such as Thucydides, Aristotle, and Machiavelli; Kant, Weber and Lenin; and Gramsci, Arendt and Berlin—who focused on the distinctiveness, necessity, and difficulty of judgment in politics. The second part of the course moves from the intellectual history of Western political thought to the study of judgment in comparative political inquiry. It considers recent scholarly attempts to explain different historical events—such as the invention of modern Indian democracy, workings of local government in contemporary Denmark and invasion of Iraq after September 11, 2001—through the political judgments of key social actors. In doing so, the course seeks to bridge the study of judgment in theory with its practice in real world politics.

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