This course is intended as an introduction to political philosophy as seen through an examination of some of the major texts and thinkers of the Western political tradition.
Three broad themes that are central to understanding political life are focused upon: the polis experience (Plato, Aristotle), the sovereign state (Machiavelli, Hobbes), constitutional government (Locke), and democracy (Rousseau, Tocqueville).
The way in which different political philosophies have given expression to various forms of political institutions and our ways of life are examined throughout the course.
1. Introduction: What is Political Philosophy?
2. Socratic Citizenship: Plato’s Apology
3. Socratic Citizenship: Plato’s Crito
4. Philosophers and Kings: Plato’s Republic, I-II
5. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle’s Politics, VII
6. New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli’s The Prince (chaps. 13-26)
7. The Sovereign State: Hobbes’ Leviathan
8. Constitutional Government:
9. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau’s Discourse
10. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau’s Social Contract, I-II
11. Democratic Statecraft: Tocqueville’s Democracy in America
12. In Defense of Politics
Instructor: Steven B. Smith