Thucydides, Human Nature, and International Politics
Glimpse into our Basic Program by joining our First Friday Lecture with Richard Hoskins
About the Event
Why do nations go to war? Or cooperate to avoid it? The Greek historian Thucydides is often called the father of international relations studies. His History of the Peloponnesian War written 2500 years ago remains the starting point for a realist understanding of the behavior of nations and their leaders. Thomas Hobbes translated him, Machiavelli and David Hume were influenced by him, the founders and leading thinkers in the modern discipline of IR studies were and remain his students. Part of the enduring strength of Thucydides' thought is his perceptive understanding of unchanging human nature -- especially of those exercising great political or military power. This lecture will explore the heritage of Thucydides for the study of international relations, and in particular his wise observations about the role of human nature.
Basic Program Instructor
Richard Hoskins holds a PhD from the University of Chicago and a JD from Northwestern University, where he teaches in the law school and has been awarded the law school’s highest teaching award. He is also a practicing lawyer with a Chicago law firm and former Assistant United States Attorney in the Department of Justice, Southern District of New York. He has published articles in academic journals and taught at the University of Virginia Law School. His doctoral dissertation explored the relationship between the political thought of Reinhold Niebuhr and the schools of international relations theory, which is also the subject of a chapter he has contributed to the Oxford Handbook of Reinhold Niebuhr. His primary interests are in political philosophy and theology, US political and legal history, and European religious and social thought.