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Course Description

This course will critically examine several major authors in Western political theory from the 16th century to the contemporary period: Machiavelli, Hobbes, Nietzsche, Weil, Arendt, and the authors of the United Nations' "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." We will discuss select elements in the evolution of modern political thought, including: human nature, the origin of political society, morality and power, political obligations and rights, the purpose of political life, the connection between freedom and political action, legitimacy of the state and citizenship, along with the relationship between truth and politics. The goal will be to help develop our ability to think critically about some of the main questions and concerns, and the significance, of these authors’ judgments regarding politics. Emphasis will be placed on the theory presented in the text, rather than the historical context, in order to expand our foundational vocabulary in the field of modern political thought. | Facilitated discussion.
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Section Title
Modern Political Theory: 16th Century to the Contemporary Period
Type
Online - Zoom
Days
Th
Time
1:30PM to 2:45PM
Dates
Sep 23, 2021 to Dec 02, 2021
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
13.8
Delivery Options
Virtual Classroom  
Course Fees
Instructors
Section Notes

Please note: This course will be a seminar with a highly interactive approach. Class time will be devoted to discussion. All readings for this course will be available for free online through the course website. Please have the text available for reference during each class. Although we will only be reading short selections from each of these works, if you prefer to purchase paperback copies, they are listed under “recommended books.” Most available modern translations of these texts should be acceptable. No class on November 25.

Required supplies/fee & Recommended Books:

The books referenced in the course are listed below. Although we will only be reading short selections from each of these works, you may wish to purchase copies of them. Most available modern translations of these texts should be acceptable.

Machiavelli, Niccolò, The Prince and the Discourses

Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan

Nietzsche, Friedrich, On the Genealogy of Morals

United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Weil, Simone, The Need for Roots: Prelude to A Declaration of Duties Toward Mankind

Weil, Simone, A Note on the Abolition of Political Parties

Arendt, Hannah, The Portable Hannah Arendt