POL S 201
Philosophical bases of politics and political activity. Provides an introduction to the study of politics by the reading of a few books in political philosophy. Organized around several key political concepts, such as liberty, equality, justice, authority, rights, and citizenship. Offered: AWSpS.
Description: This course examines a selection of the most profound and influential works of Western political theory from Plato (4th Century BCE) to the present day. The principal themes of the course are freedom, justice and peace. What do these ideals mean? In what does their value consist? How are they best achieved? These themes are linked in turn to the fundamental question of legitimacy: Under what conditions and on what grounds may governments claim the obedience of their citizens? The objective of the course is to understand and critically evaluate the arguments of different theorists, and to reach your own reasoned positions on the issues raised by them.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts: Plato, Republic; Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan; John Locke, Second Treatise of Government; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality and Social Contract; John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.
Class assignments and grading
Requirements: There will be two five-page papers, and a final exam.
Grading: First Paper: 35 %; Second exam: 35 %; Final Exam: 20 %; Participation: 10 %.