| History of Political Theory
Y382 | 3304 | Hey
All the processes and institutions that political science studies
are embodiments of one or many theories about how government should act.
Ideas about the nature of power, justice, rights, citizenship, freedom, law,
community, and obligation are the heart of politics; we could hardly
envision or discuss the political world without theories about these
abstract ideas. Though undoubtedly the themes of this course will resonate
with anyone who regularly discusses politics, morals, and law, frequently
such discussants do not know the sources from which their positions spring.
Knowledge of the philosophical roots of modernity and an ability to
distinguish between different ideas that have shaped the modern world are
invaluable tools for any of us to have.
This course will compel students to confront persistent and vexing
political and social questions. Students completing this course should
expect to gain a familiarity with the arguments contained in the "classic"
texts of modern political thought. We may have occasion to consider what
constitutes a "classic" text and whether or not such a canon of texts
betrays certain cultural biases. This course is an extensive survey of
political thought in the modern age, but does not give intensive knowledge
about any one philosopher-for that you will need to continue on your own.
Furthermore, students should learn how to articulate and then defend their
own arguments on relevant topics based on logical reasoning.
This course should appeal to those with interests in history,
philosophy, social theory, and economic history as well as to political
science majors. Grading will be based on some short papers as well as a
midterm and a final. The course will use a text with collected readings
which is inexpensive to purchase.