PHEB104 Political Philosophy


The course supplies theoretical introduction to the main problems, categories and theories in the philosophy of politics. It is organized around few central questions: What is Politics, Democracy, Power, Freedom, etc.? Addressing those questions the course combines general lectures that introduce some of the main (sometimes incommensurable) theoretical approaches trying to answer them, as well as seminars on texts from the classics of political philosophy. An initial acquaintance with the very recent debates is also provoked.

прочети още
Философия (на английски език)


проф. Димитър Вацов  д-р

Описание на курса:


After completing successfully this course the students will:

1) know:

• the main problems, categories and theories from the classics of political philosophy

2) are capable of:

• The students will be able: to orient themselves in the field of the political philosophy; to use its main categories distinguishing their different meanings in different contexts; to prepare a basic philosophical argumentation on specific political issues.

Предварителни изисквания:
No preliminary requirements

Форми на провеждане:

Учебни форми:

Език, на който се води курса:

Теми, които се разглеждат в курса:

  1. What is politics? Defining the field of the practical philosophy: natural necessity versus freedom. Specifying the field of the philosophy of politics: demarcations and fusions between morality, religion and politics as well as between economy, publicity and politics.
  2. What is state? The Aristotle’s classification of the forms of governance (constitutions). The institute of the absolute monarchy and its theocratic ideology. The modern critiques of theocracy and the appearance of the liberal democracy. What is a totalitarian state?
  3. Seminar: Aristotle, Politics
  4. What is democracy? Direct and representative democracy. Who are the people of democracy? Leftist, conservative, liberal and republican concepts of “the people”. Social contract theories.
  5. Seminar: John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
  6. What is power? Power, domination, authority, resistance: how to deal with these terms? Power and violence (Hannah Arendt). Charismatic, traditional and rational authority (Max Weber). Sovereignty, discipline, biopower (Michel Foucault).
  7. What is freedom (liberty)? Instrumental concepts of freedom (Thomas Hobbes). Ancient and modern, collective and individual concepts of freedom. Negative and positive concepts of liberty (Isaiah Berlin).
  8. Seminar: Isaiah Berlin, Two concepts of liberty
  9. What is equality? Contradictions and mutual reinforcements between freedom and equality (the Chantal Mouffe’s “democratic paradox”). On the history and theory of equality: political equality, social equality and cultural equality
  10. Seminar: Nancy Fraser, interviewed by Dimitar Vatsov: Parity: the Grammar of Contestation
  11. Test Intermediate evaluation
  12. What is justice? The ancient and Christian concepts of “good life” and “common good”. Modernity and the “common good” as a contested notion. Utilitarian theories of justice. Procedural theories of justice (John Raws and Jurgen Habermas). The human rights – philosophical problematizations.
  13. The globalization and its challenges to liberal democracy: What to do after the politics of identity? Left and right populisms nowadays. Radical Islamic and Russian Sovereignist propaganda.
  14. Seminar: Report of HSSF “The anti-democratic propaganda in Bulgaria”
  15. Presentations of papers

Литература по темите:

Suggested Readings

Arendt, Hannah. On Violence. New York: Harvest Books, 1970.

Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.

Aristotle. The Politics. Translated by Barker, Sir Ernest. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Berlin, Isaiah. Four Essays on Liberty, Oxford University Press, 1969.

Fraser, Nancy. “Parity: the Grammar of Contestation” (Interview with Nancy Fraser by Dimitar Vatsov). Critique & Humanism, vol. 46, No. 2/2016.

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Locke, John. The Works of John Locke, vol. 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1824.

Mouffe, Chantal. The Democratic Paradox. London: Verso, 2009.

Sartori, Giovanni . The Theory of Democracy Revisited. Chatham, N.J: Chatham House, 1987.

Vatsov, Dimitar et al. The Anti-Democratic Propaganda in Bulgaria: News Websites and Print Media, 2013-2016.

Средства за оценяване:

1. Test

2. Paper