Political Science | Modern Political Thought
Y382 | 10198 | Dalecki

History of political thought is traditionally divided into three
periods: classical, modern, and contemporary.  The goal of this
course is to explore the key tenets of modern political thought.
Modern political thought spans, roughly, the period from the middle
of the European Renaissance to the waning of the nineteenth
century.  For the purpose of this course, Machiavelli’s Prince
(written in 1513) will mark the beginning of the modern era in the
history of political philosophizing. The death of Nietzsche (1900)
will mark its end.

Throughout fifteen weeks, we will journey across four centuries of
debates, disputes, and disagreements over forms of political
organizations that various thinkers deemed most suitable for our
collective survival, progress, and happiness.  We will take a closer
look at concepts and principles that they advanced to validate their
political visions.  Questions to be covered will include: What
does “politics” mean?  What is the relationship between politics and
morality?  What is the source and what should be the extent of
governmental authority?  What are the proper aims of the
government?  How does political change come about?  Why and when is
it proper (and often necessary) to revolt against the existing
political order?  Reflecting on these queries has been an important
part of our intellectual culture.   It should also help us
understand political controversies of the present.