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Early Political Philosophies and Ideologies

In this free online course, you will learn about concepts such as enlightenment, morality, freedom, and autonomy.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online course will cover The Enlightenment, also known as the age of reason. Themes such as morality, autonomy, and freedom will be explored in this course, alongside Immanuel Kant's take on these themes. The term “Categorical Imperative” will be addressed to explain the interconnection between morality, freedom, and autonomy. “The Kingdom of Ends” will also be explored, along with Kant’s views on Republicanism and Cosmopolitanism.
Early Political Philosophies and Ideologies
  • Duration

    3-4 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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Enlightenment thinkers argue that freedom is a natural right given to you at birth. Freedom is therefore a right claimed by people all over the world. In this course, you will learn how the political philosophies and ideologies of Immanuel Kant were influenced by themes such as freedom and reason. You will also learn how ideologies have been addressed by early philosophers, along with the role of philosophy. Reason, in Kant’s opinion, is the arbiter of truth in all judgement. Knowledge results solely from reason and rationality, allowing citizens to make laws that should be applicable to themselves within the community. Kant argues that citizens can legislate only if they are free and autonomous. In this course, you will be provided with all the explanations relating to the interconnection between morality, freedom, and autonomy. Specifically, you will learn about a “priori max”, which is referred to by Marx as “Categorical Imperative”.

Kant was one of the Enlightenment's most prominent thinkers. His theory about man's emergence from self-incurred immaturity will be discussed during this course. According to Kant, immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. Kant argues that immaturity is self-incurred because its cause is not due to lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. Thus, the motto should be “be courageous enough to use your own understanding”. Actually, many men remain immature for life, because they are lazy and cowards.  Though they could have been naturally emancipated long ago from external guidance, they are just happy in their situation. Is this attitude of these men not encouraged by others acting as their guardians? Whatever may be your answer, you will notice that Kant and other enlightenment thinkers were bound by a special attitude of mind as they wrote about that theme.

Another political and philosophical theme that is covered in this course is freedom. It is quite obvious that, in many cases, people rely on actual facts when it comes to deciding upon whether a specific act was freely done. Obviously, people resort to these facts to decide whether and to what extent an individual in a specific case acted freely, with his or her own free will, without ever being induced. Kant thought that freedom is a prerequisite for all activities and thinking. Therefore, anyone must deem themselves capable of thinking on their own rational principles, and only so can they deem their will as their own. This course will allow you to know more about other thoughts and concepts of Kant such as idealism or ethics. The course will be of great interest to political leaders. It will be particularly useful to students specializing in philosophy. Start this course today to improve your knowledge of political philosophies and ideologies. 

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