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.
This course examines a selection of classic and early modern texts in Western political theory, including primary source works of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes and Rousseau. We will examine how varying understandings of different thinkers concerning the peculiar challenges of the human condition shape their political prescriptions regarding the best form of constitution. To help us with this study, the principal themes of the class will be power, knowledge, and their interrelationship. Students are encouraged to analyze and critically assess urgent questions of contemporary politics, utilizing the lenses of the theoretical inquiries and proposals of the political theorists we read in this course.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts: Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays; Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Politics; Machiavelli, Selected Political Writings; Hobbes, Leviathan; Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses
Class assignments and grading
Midterm exam: 30%; Final exam: 30%; Peer-reviewed presentation: 20%; Class participation: 20%