Friday, June 10, 2011
Do I measure up to the past?
This was tucked into a political theory book I picked up in a used bookstore and, well, I'm glad I'm not a student at Harvard in 1944...
(Answer FIVE questions)
1. Aristotle defines the state as "that association (koinonia) which is supreme and embraces all the rest," Cicero defines it as an "assemblage of men associated by law." Compare these two definitions and indicate the historical and philosophical background of each.
2. "Hence we are led to observe that the several forms of government cannot be defined by the words few or many." Plato, Politicus [That's "The Statesman", if you were wondering. No, I didn't know that either, Wikipedia had to tell me..].
Discuss this statement and compare it with Aristotle's views on the same subject.
3. "...Modern politics did not begin with the return of Aristotle to western Europe in the thirteenth century, but with the Bolognese revival of Roman law at the end of the eleventh... we would date the break-up of the conception of the single society from the entry of Roman law, not of Aristotle, into political thoughts." -C.N.S. Woolf, Bartolus of Sassoferrato
Discuss this statement.
4. Give an account and an estimate of one important European political theorist who wrote before 1500 A.D.
5. Explain the meaning and political consequences of the statement of Alvarus Pelagius that the Pope is "universal monarch of the whole of the Christian people, and de jure monarch of the whole world."
6. "What has pleased the prince has the force of law."
Discuss the origin, meaning, and later influence of this maxim.
7. In like fashion, discuss the maxim "The king is king not by reigning but by ruling."
And, I could maybe bluff my way through a couple of these, but I likely would be retaking the course in the Fall...