This page features a collection of the best resources on political philosophy. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on political philosophy. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about it.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want an academic overview of political philosophy:
- Read the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Political Philosophy. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces political philosophy:
“Political philosophy can be defined as philosophical reflection on how best to arrange our collective life – our political institutions and our social practices, such as our economic system and our pattern of family life. (Sometimes a distinction is made between political and social philosophy, but I shall use ‘political philosophy’ in a broad sense to include both.) Political philosophers seek to establish basic principles that will, for instance, justify a particular form of state, show that individuals have certain inalienable rights, or tell us how a society’s material resources should be shared among its members. This usually involves analysing and interpreting ideas like freedom, justice, authority and democracy and then applying them in a critical way to the social and political institutions that currently exist. Some political philosophers have tried primarily to justify the prevailing arrangements of their society; others have painted pictures of an ideal state or an ideal social world that is very different from anything we have so far experienced (see Utopianism). . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Raymond Guess discuss Realism and Utopianism in Political Philosophy on the Philosophy Bites podcast [16 mins]
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on Political Philosophy.
For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.