Political Theory: Visions of the Just/Good Society
What is justice? What is the role of power in domestic and international politics? What are the arguments for and against political equality? Should the state tolerate a variety of religious ideals and practices? By exploring these guiding questions in the company of Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke, this course serves as an introduction to ancient and early-modern political philosophy in the European tradition. Our goal is to interpret core texts in this tradition through careful reading and writing. In reflecting on the affinities, differences, and tensions generated by each thinker's vision of the good society, we will also aim to develop the faculties required for thinking critically about our own political horizons
Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Politics; Niccolò Machiavelli, Selected Political Writings (The Prince and the Discourses on Livy); Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan; John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration.
Format and Requirements