Philosophy 115

Summer 2015 Session D

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
115 Political Philosophy Grosser TuWTh 10-12:30 105 Latimer

This introductory class will examine the works of four classical protagonists of Western political thought: Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant. In focusing on early modern political philosophy and, in particular, on social contract theory, it is meant to provide students with a basic understanding of paradigmatic politico-philosophical approaches: An understanding of the underlying metaphysical and ontological, historical and anthropological assumptions that essentially inform these approaches; of the relevance and specific meaning of concepts such as freedom, equality, and justice, citizenship, community, and power; and, most importantly, of differing argumentative strategies of justifying the existence as well as the authority of the state philosophically. Thus, based on a careful reading of their writings, it is to be considered how Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant attempt to find a balance that resolves the inescapable tension between the autonomy of the individual and the authority of the state. Additionally, the course aims at identifying the concepts of the political that, implicitly or explicitly, organize the theories discussed.

Previously taught: SP15, SU14D, FL13, SU13D, FL12, SU12D, SU11D, SP11, FL09, SP09, SP08, SU07A, FL06, FL05, FL04, FL03.