THE GREAT IDEAS: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
Professor David Reisman, NTU
Professor Michael Allen, Bryn Mawr
Course Description and Scope
The Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, the American revolution - these three major upheavals in the eighteenth the century were the catalyst for the scientific study of economic, social and political systems. Three interrelated concepts emerged as the central focus of the debate. These are capitalism, socialism and democracy. This course investigates the evolution and significance of these three concepts through the work of great authors of the distant and not-so-distant past.
This course is concerned with the interaction between economic exchange, social values and the political order. It explores the ideas and ideologies that people use to make sense of commerce, integration and authority. It is interdisciplinary by its very nature but also because the debate is so old. Most of the great ideas with which economic, social and political philosophy are concerned were formulated long before the borders of the present-day academic disciplines were ever laid down.
The course is made up of 20 2-hour meetings. The first half of this course (taught by Professor Reisman) will be concerned mainly with the founding fathers of political economy. The second half (taught by Professor Allen) will show the relevance of the great books to contemporary issues and debates.
Schedule of Topics
|Week |Lectures/Seminars | |1 |An Introduction to the History of Ideas | | |Why study great ideas? | | |Why study the ideas of capitalism, socialism and democracy? | | |1.3. The Greeks: early authors | | |1.4. The Golden Age: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle | |2 |The Middle Ages: Economy, Society and State | | |2.1. The fall of Rome | | |2.2. The economic base: feudalism | | |2.3. The Bible | | |2.4. The Fathers of the Church | | |2.5. Aquinas | | |2.6. Oresme | |3 |Religion and Reformation | | |3.1. Protestantism and Secularism | | |3.2. Mercantilism | | |3.3. The Scientific Revolution | | |3.4. Bacon...
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