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Political Theory 101

Political Theory 101

A podcast about political theory. Freely available to all, but we'd love your support on Patreon: Also available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play


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The Frankfurt School and the Rise of the Interventionist State

Edmund and Benjamin delve into Marxist reactions to the rise of the interventionist state, both in the interwar and postwar periods. Featuring Adorno, Fraenkel, Habermas, Horkheimer, Kirchheimer, Marcuse, Pollock, Neumann
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Marxism After Marx

Edmund and Benjamin discuss the trajectory of Marxism during the decades following Marx's death. They focus on the limitations of both democratic and revolutionary approaches, attempts to find a golden mean between the two, and why this mean was so elusive.
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Nietzsche, Arendt, and Aesthetic Struggle

Edmund and Benjamin discuss what happens when political theorists make struggling their primary objective, comparing Nietzsche and Arendt to the theorists who prioritise unity, order, or truth.
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Marx and Materialism

Edmund and Benjamin discuss Marx's theory of history, positioning Marx in relation to his German predecessors and to some of the Marxists that follow him. The Greeks make an appearance, too.
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Hegel and the German Conception of Freedom

Edmund and Benjamin discuss Hegel's effort to bridge the gap between the individual and the collective with mediating institutions. They position Hegel in relation to the German theorists who came before and after him and discuss his critique of the Greeks.
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Kant, Fichte, and the Liberal Origins of Nationalism

Edmund and Benjamin discuss Kant's autonomy-heavy moral theory, emphasising Kant's reluctance to apply his moral theory to politics. This, however, did not stop Fichte, who called for a "self-sufficient" German nation-state. By shifting the autonomous subject from the individual person to the individual nation, Fichte is able to turn Kant's liberal moral theory into a nationalist political theory. Featuring Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Schmitt
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Machiavelli, Smith, and the Separation of Politics and Morality

To escape the subordination of politics to theology under the church, Machiavelli creates a new kind of strictly political normativity, leaving morality behind. We examine why Machiavelli had to do this, and how this leads to new liberal moral theories, like the one Adam Smith describes in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. Featuring Augustine, Dante, and Kant
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Hirschman, Goodin, and the End of the Chronic Legitimacy Crisis

Edmund and Benjamin combine the last two episodes together to talk about "chronic legitimacy crises". They discuss how these crises work and how they end--through solving, settling, and sinking.
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Williams, Rawls, and Legitimation Stories

In our follow-up to our previous episode on "crisis", Edmund and Benjamin talk about how legitimacy works. They start with the disagreement between Bernard Williams and John Rawls over whether legitimacy is an "internal" or "external" concept. Then they use Benjamin's PhD thesis to delve into the different kinds of legitimation stories states tell.
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Gamble, Streeck, and Theories of Crisis

Edmund and Benjamin discuss theories of crisis, comparing Reinhart Koselleck's old-school theory to more recent contributions from Andrew Gamble and Wolfgang Streeck. They also chat about 20th century crises and how our crisis today is a bit different. This is the first in a three part series on "Legitimacy Crises".
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Mearsheimer, Wendt, and International Relations Theory

Edmund and Benjamin discuss the four schools of international relations theory--realism, liberalism, Marxism, and constructivism. They consider the influence of materialism and idealism on the schools, along with the role of domestic politics and international institutions. Featuring Benjamin's John Mearsheimer impression.
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Cicero, Seneca, and the Transition from Republic to Empire

Edmund and Benjamin dig into Roman history, focusing on shifts in the legitimation stories as the republic becomes an empire. They discuss the evolution of the Platonic academy in the Roman period and spend some time with Stoicism.
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Isocrates, Thucydides, and the Relationship between Rhetoric and Knowledge

Edmund and Benjamin explore rhetoric, drawing on a variety of Greek thinkers. The Greek theorists' attitudes to rhetoric stem from their attitudes to knowledge. Is the crowd wise? Can rhetoric share wisdom with the crowd? Or is rhetoric where wisdom comes to die?
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Fanon, Burke, and Theories of Change

Edmund and Benjamin compare and contrast Edmund Burke and Frantz Fanon. Both theorists were critical of commercial society, but adopted very different strategies for opposing it based on entirely different theories of change.
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Rawls, Hayek, and Liberalism's Relationship with the Market

Edmund and Benjamin return from the winter vac to talk about what happens when markets are depoliticised.
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MacKinnon, Rousseau, and the Origins of Inequality

Edmund and Benjamin discuss the many different origin stories of inequality, drawing on Catharine MacKinnon and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Edmund on power: Benjamin on Yang:
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Augustine, Schmitt, and Political Theology (w/Raeffe Gibson)

Raeffe Gibson joins Benjamin and Edmund to discuss the idea that states need to be unified around common values.
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Caesar, Weber, and the Power of Charisma

Edmund and Benjamin discuss the role of charismatic leaders in politics in the Roman Empire, interwar Germany, and more recently.
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Aristotle, Constant, and the Distribution of Time

Benjamin and Edmund discuss the ancient zero-sum conception of liberty, attempts by later political theorists to universalise it, and some of the ways understandings of liberty have changed to accommodate that. Draws most heavily on Aristotle's "Politics" and Constant's "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared With That of the Moderns" and "Adolphe".
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Hobbes, Plato, and the Rise of the State

Benjamin and Edmund discuss why both Hobbes and Plato think the state is necessary, comparing and contrasting the two along the way.
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Welcome to Political Theory 101

Benjamin Studebaker and Edmund Wilson welcome you to a new series about the history of political thought and some of the people who have contributed to it.
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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