POLS 142: Modern Political Thought

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Spring 2012 / MWF 10:40-11:30 / Lafayette 207

POLS 142: Modern Political Thought

Prof. Neal

502 Old Mill

Office hours /

"Officially" Monday and Wednesday, 2:00 – 4:00. However, you are welcome to come by the office at any time, and I am generally there a good part of every day. Just speak to me before or after class if you want to arrange a specific time.

Course Overview /

This course is designed to introduce you to the works of some of the major political

philosophers of the modern age, and to (hopefully!) encourage and stimulate you to think seriously about them. It is not a lecture course, and my aim far exceeds that of telling you what certain

(purportedly) great thinkers thought, you writing this down and regurgitating it. We shall examine, in as great a detail as time permits, the textual arguments of several key modern theorists. We shall be concerned with trying to come to intimately grasp enlightenment thought as represented by the classical social contract theorists (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau) and various reactions to, criticisms of, and reformulations and revisions of contract theory (Rousseau as well, Burke, Hume, Marx and Nietzsche). The capacities that will be of most importance in enabling you to do well in this course are the abilities to think and write critically and analytically with regard to complex arguments. The most important prerequisites for this course are a desire to understand the ideas that have made us what we are, and a willingness to work seriously and diligently to obtain that understanding.

Course Texts / Required:

 Modern Political Thought, edited by David Wootton

 The texts for this course are all contained in the Wooton book, which is (relatively) inexpensive. Most of these works can also be found on-line.

Course Requirements / Attendance and Participation

I expect you to attend each class, to come having done the assigned reading in advance, and to come prepared to intelligently discuss and analyze these readings. Chronic failure to meet these

expectations will result in the lowering of your final mark. (Absences from class become "chronic" when they exceed three.) Please remember as well to always bring to class the relevant reading material for that day.

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Quizzes

Numerous quizzes will be given throughout the term (somewhere between ten and fifteen). Usually, these will be brief exercises at the beginning of class based on the assigned reading, but occasionally I may ask you to write a brief (2 pages or so) essay as a “take-home” quiz, or something similar. The quizzes will be frequent enough that you should proceed on the assumption that there will be one on every day, even though there won’t.

Grading of Quizzes: Everyone can miss one quiz with no penalty (or drop the lowest grade if you take them all); for other missed quizzes, your lowest quiz grade will be repeated. Being present for class but leaving a quiz blank is a score of ‘5’ (out of 10). Missing a quiz is a score of ‘3’. So obviously, it’s vital to attend class and to do the reading. It is very much in your interests to attend class and take all quizzes. There are no make-up quizzes.

Exams

There will be two required exams during the term. The first will be held on March 21/23, and will cover all the material in the class up until that point. The second exam will be the final exam, and it is scheduled for Friday, May 4 at 10:30. The final will cover material from the entire class. I will discuss the format of the exams in class

Essays

You are responsible for writing an essay of 7-8 (1750-2000 words) pages on a topic derived from the subject of our course. The essay questions will be closely related to the course materials. They may involve some outside reading, though they are not primarily research papers. They are papers where you will be required to explain and critically analyze the arguments put forth by some political philosopher(s) on the issues of the course.

I will pass out essay topics and designate a due date for papers twice during the term. Although you only have to write on one occasion, you can write on both. If you do, the second essay you do will be averaged into your grade for the 85% of your mark determined by papers and exams, if doing boosts your average. If it doesn’t, then it won’t be counted. There is thus no risk that writing a second paper could hurt your grade. It could only help it, though whether it does help it or not will depend on how well you do.

Grades

Quizzes 15%

Exam #1 28.3%

Essay 28.3%

Final Exam 28.3%

Important: Non-Electronic Classroom

No electronic devices are allowed in the classroom. This includes laptop computers and ipads – they cannot be used in class. Please try and remember to silence your cell phones, iphones, etc. before class begins.

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Course Outline

(the schedule is approximate; we'll take more or less time as needed.)

JANUARY 18 - INTRODUCTION

JANUARY 20 - 23: BENJAMIN CONSTANT Required Reading:

 Benjamin Constant, "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns," (a lecture given by Constant at the Athenee Royal in Paris, 1819) in Wootton, pp. 558-569. Suggested Readings:

 Stephen Holmes, Benjamin Constant and the Making of Modern Liberalism (1984).

 Larry Siedentrop, "Two Liberal Traditions," in Alan Ryan, ed., The Idea of Freedom: Essays in Honour of Isaiah Berlin, (1979), pp. 153-174.

 Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty," in his Four Essays on Liberty, (1969).

JANUARY 25 - FEBRUARY 10 : HOBBES Required Reading:

 Hobbes, Leviathan, in Wootton, pp. 116-277; selected sections will be assigned in class. Suggested Readings:

 *L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory, pp. 300-320.  *John Plamenatz, Man and Society, vol. I., pp. 116-154.

 *Pelczynski & Gray, Conceptions of Liberty in Political Philosophy, pp. 27-38.  *L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, pp. 370-394.

FEBRUARY 13 - FEBRUARY 27: LOCKE Required Reading:

 Locke, "Second Treatise on Government" in Wootton, pp. 278-353.. Suggested Readings:

 *L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory, pp. 321-338.  *John Plamenatz, Man and Society, vol. I., pp. 209-252.

 *Pelczynski & Gray, Conceptions of Liberty in Political Philosophy, pp. 57-82.  *L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, pp. 451-486.

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FEBRUARY 29 - MARCH 19: ROUSSEAU Required Reading:

 Rousseau, "The Social Contract", in Wootton, pp. 427-487.. Suggested Readings:

 *L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory, pp. 381-398.  *John Plamenatz, Man and Society, vol. I., pp. 364-442.

 *Pelczynski & Gray, Conceptions of Liberty in Political Philosophy, pp. 83-99.  *L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, pp. 532-553.

Wednesday, March 21 & Friday, March 23- Exam

MARCH 26 - MARCH 30 - HUME Required Reading:

 David Hume, "Of the Original Contract," in Wootton, pp. 354-362.

Suggested Readings:

 *L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory, pp. 399-410.  *John Plamenatz, Man and Society, vol. I., pp. 299-331.

 *L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, pp. 509-531.

APRIL 2 – APRIL 6 - BURKE Required Reading:

 Edmund Burke, Selections from "Reflections on the Revolution in France," in Wootton, pp. 502-522.

Suggested Readings:

 *L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory, pp. 411-427.  *John Plamenatz, Man and Society, vol. I., pp. 332-363.

 *L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, pp. 659-678.

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APRIL 9- APRIL 18: MARX Required Reading:

 Karl Marx, selections from his works, in Wootton, pp. 742-848. Specific pages will be assigned in class.

Suggested Readings:

 *L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory, pp. 488-504.  *John Plamenatz, Man and Society, vol. II., pp.269-408.

 *Pelczynski & Gray, Conceptions of Liberty in Political Philosophy, pp. 217-242.  *L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, pp. 755-781.  Allen Buchanan, Marx and Justice, chapters 2,3,4,5.

APRIL 20 – MAY 2: NIETZSCHE Required Reading:

 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, in Wootton, pp. 858-903. Suggested Readings:

 *L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory, pp. 505-517.

 *L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, pp. 782-803.  Andrew Bernstein, Nietzsche's Moral Philosophy

FRIDAY, MAY 4 / 10:30 – 1:15 / FINAL EXAM

The following books have been placed on reserve in the library:

L.C. McDonald, Western Political Theory John Plamenatz, Man and Society

L. Strauss and J. Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy

Z. Pelczynski & J. Gray, eds., Conceptions of Liberty in Political Philosophy J.S. McClelland, A History of Western Political Thought

The following texts are not on reserve, but are available in the stacks at the library (browse call numbers JA 81 – JA 83). Each has chapters devoted to the thinkers we will be reading.

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George Sabine, History of Political Thought Sheldon Wolin, Politics and Vision

John Hallowell, Main Currents in Modern Political Thought Leslie J. Macfarlane, Modern Political Theory

John Bowle, Western Political Thought Wendy L. Brown, Manhood and Politics Janet Coleman, A History of Political Thought Maurice Cranston, Western Political Philosophers

Dante Germino, Political Philosophy and the OpenSociety J.S. McClelland, A History of Western Political Thought Mulford Sibley, Political Ideas and Ideologies

C.E. Vaughan, Studies in the History of Political Philosophy before and after Rousseau

CLASSROOM PROTOCOL

The Department of Political Science requires that this classroom protocol, defining minimum standards of conduct, be included in all syllabi.

1. Students are expected to attend and be prepared for ALL regularly scheduled classes.

2. Students are expected to arrive on time and stay in class until the class period ends. If a student knows in advance that he/she will need to leave early, he/she should notify the instructor before the class period begins.

3. Students are expected to treat faculty and fellow students with respect. For example, students must not disrupt class by leaving and reentering during class, must not distract class by making noise, and must be attentive to comments being made by the instructors and by peers.

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