Summer Timetable

POL200Y1Y L5101

Political Theory: Visions of the Just/Good Society


This course introduces students to the subfield of political theory as a key component of political science. Political theory is characterized by its close scrutiny of concepts, ideas, language, and values. All ideas come from somewhere. By reading the representative works of six of the most influential thinkers in Western political thought, this class will show you how and when the ideas we take for granted as good or evil today originally emerged.
We will raise a number of fundamental questions about the nature of politics: Why do human beings live together? How should we organize our society? What is justice? What would a just or good society look like?
We ask that you keep an open mind as you learn to evaluate these texts on their own terms and consider their continuing relevance to politics today.


Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics; Augustine of Hippo, City of God; Macchiavelli, The Prince; Hobbes, Leviathan; Locke, Second Treatise of Government; A Letter Concerning Toleration

Format and Requirements

Essay 1: 10%; Essay 2: 20%; Essay 3: 25%; Final Exam: 30%; Participation: 15%