1st Edition

Political Philosophy: The Basics

By Bas van der Vossen Copyright 2025
    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers an introduction to political philosophy, the study of the role of government in our lives. It discusses what political philosophy is about, its most important and enduring questions, and how to do political philosophy well. Throughout the book discusses issues like:


    •             Do we have a moral obligation to obey the law?

    •             What’s the value of equality?

    •             What’s the nature of justice?

    •             How can we answer philosophical questions about politics?

    •             Is political philosophy a form of activism? Or is it more like a science?


    Written in an inviting and accessible style, Political Philosophy: The Basics offers an ideal starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about the philosophical study of politics.

    Introduction; Chapter 1: Starting Political Philosophy; Chapter 2: Political Obligation; Chapter 3: Freedom and Equality; Chapter 4: The Social Contract; Justice; Chapter 5: Activism and Philosophy; Bibliography; Glossary; Index.


    Bas van der Vossen is Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Smith Institute of Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University. He’s the co-author of In Defense of Openness, with Jason Brennan (2018) and Debating Humanitarian Intervention, with Fernando Tesón (2017). He is Associate Editor of Social Philosophy and Policy.

    “This is an excellent introduction to political philosophy. It is clearly and intuitively written, and it addresses key questions of political philosophy (e.g., political authority and the moral obligation to obey the law, the moral relevance of freedom, equality, and consent for justice, and the moral permissibility of civil disobedience). Van der Vossen very effectively presents an opinionated introduction to these issues, with appropriate flags and questions for controversial issues.” – Peter Vallentyne, University of Missouri