Political Science | Modern Political Thought
Y382 | 9896 | 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.