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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jason Mayerfeld
POL S 509
Seattle Campus

Political Theory Core

Central themes in political theory and the works of major political theorists, past and present.

Class description

Description. We will study a selection of the most important classical and contemporary texts of political theory. The theme of the course is democracy. What is the democratic ideal, and how is it best achieved? What are the major benefits and costs of democracy? Can one speak of a democratic culture or way of life? How should democracies cope with difference and disagreement? Because of the minimal overlap in content, students who took Pol S 509 from either Professor Di Stefano or Professor LaVaque-Manty can receive an additional 5 credits by taking this installment of the course.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Texts. Tentative list of readings: Locke, Second Treatise of Government; Locke, Letter Concerning Toleration; Rousseau, Social Contract; Hegel, Philosophy of Right; Mill, On Liberty; Arendt, The Human Condition; Rawls, Political Liberalism, Habermas, Between Facts and Norms; Kateb, The Inner Ocean. Not all these texts will be read in their entirely.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments. Besides completing the reading and participating in seminar, students will write two 5-10 page papers.

Grading: First essay: 40 %; Second essay: 40 %; Seminar participation: 20 %


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 03/06/2006