Lecture 2 - Introductory Lecture

author: Ian Shapiro, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Aug. 19, 2014,   recorded: January 2010,   views: 1742
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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The trial of Adolf Eichmann, as presented in Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, is the topic of discussion. Professor Shapiro asks students what made them uncomfortable, not only about Eichmann's actions as a Nazi officer, but also the actions of Israel in capturing, extraditing, trying, and executing him. This begs the questions, what makes a government legitimate? And more specifically, was the Third Reich illegitimate and was Eichmann breaking some kind of higher law? After class discussion, Professor Shapiro frames the five traditions that were introduced in the previous class as ways to answer this question of governmental legitimacy, and introduces John Locke, the topic of the next lecture, as a backdrop for these traditions.

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