Politics and Morality
In this course, we will study the works of key figures in 20th-century political thought, for whom the moral possibilities of politics were thrown into radical question by the horrors of two world wars, genocide, and colonialism. All the thinkers we will study situate the problem of political morality within a particular period of human history, what we will sum up as “modernity.” What are the features of modernity that render the morality of politics so uncertain? What sort of freedom, justice or legitimacy is possible for creatures like us, shaped so thoroughly by modern science, technology and capitalism? What are the distinctive forms of unfreedom and injustice to which we are subject?
Texts: Max Weber, The Vocation Lectures; Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition; Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth; Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction; Mohandas Gandhi, "Hind Swaraj" and Other Writings; John Rawls, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement; Jürgen Habermas, The Inclusion of the Other (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000).
Format and Requirements
The class will meet for one three-hour session per week. The first part of each weekly session will consist of a lecture. This will be followed by a guided discussion of assigned questions on the week’s topics. Requirements include participation, exams, and an essay.
POL200Y1 or POL200Y5 or (POLC70H3, POLC71H3)