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Zephyr Institute, Inc.

560 College Ave

Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA

(650) 667-1160 |

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Fridays, Nov. 3 - Dec. 1, 2017, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Zephyr Institute

What is Liberalism?

A four-part seminar led by Dr. Molly Oshatz on the origins of the liberal tradition in political philosophy.

Time & Location

Fridays, Nov. 3 - Dec. 1, 2017, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Zephyr Institute
560 College Ave, Palo Alto, CA, 94306


The Origins of the Liberal Tradition in Political Philosophy


What are the underlying assumptions behind competing political claims in our modern contentious political culture? In this seminar, we will look at the emergence of the liberal political tradition and its fundamental departure from the classical political tradition. With readings from Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, and Locke, this seminar will return to first principles and perhaps gain new clarity about the political confusion of our day.    



Session 1: Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Session 2: Friday, November 10th, 2017

Session 3: Friday, November 17th 2017

Session 4: Friday, December 1st, 2017



Friday, Nov. 3:

Please read the excerpts below from Plato's Republic which can be accessed HERE


Book 2, 357a-369a  (Glaucon’s Challenge, Socrates’ Proposed Method)

Book 4, 432b-445e (Justice in the State and in the Individual)

Book 7, 514a-521c (The Allegory of the Cave)

Book 8, 559d-569c (Plato’s Critique of Democracy)


Friday, Nov. 10:

Please read the excerpts below from Aristotle's Politics which can be accessed HERE:


Book 1, chapters 1-6 (What is the State?, Slavery)

Book 3, chapters 6-13 (Types of Government)

Book 7, chapter 1 (Virtue and the State)


Friday, Nov. 17: 

Please read the selections from Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, included in the link below. 

Leviathan Excerpts


Friday, December 1: 

Please read the excerpts below from Locke's Second Treatise of Government 

chapter 2

chapter 5, paragraphs 25-37 and 46-51

chapter 9

chapter 11

chapter 19, paragraphs 224-6.


John Rawls, A Theory of Justice

Chapter 1, section 3, "The Main Idea of the Theory of Justice."




First Principles Program Director & Senior Fellow

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