James A. Chamberlain
TPOL S 201
Surveys a variety of implicit and explicit values that inspire political action. Explores whether there is such a thing as a universe interest and what it might be, who should rule, and whether justice will be done.
Political theory grapples with some of the most fundamental and enduring questions that we face as human beings trying to live our lives as best we can. Perhaps the most basic of these questions concerns the character of a life well lived. But although you may want to let individuals decide this for themselves, the pursuit of the good life raises issues of concern to the collective, and therefore underlies many of our political debates and projects. For example, what limitations must be placed on the freedom of other people to protect my own? Can I even pursue a good life without the solidarity, friendship, and love of others? What happens when members of a community disagree about the meaning and requirements of a good life? How should we devise our institutions to bring out the best in us (or at least, temper the worst), and how and why do those that currently exist fall short of this aspiration?
In this course we will read a range of authors in the Western tradition of political theory (broadly construed) to further our understanding and broaden our imagination of how to answer these questions.
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