Introduction to Political Philosophy
This course offers a survey of modern political theory in the West. We will examine some of the persistent dilemmas of political modernity and the attempts of several canonical political theorists to respond to them: Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche. In each case, we will attend to the particular crises these theorists addressed in their work—such as the European wars of religion, the English Civil War, colonialism, the French Revolution, and industrial capitalism—as well as the broader philosophical and political issues they continue to pose to us now. Our approach will be both historical and conceptual, in other words, with the hopes of providing students with a nuanced but clear understanding of political theory as a distinctive form of political inquiry.
Students enroll in GOVT 1615.