Political Science 160
Professor: Kimberly Smith
This course surveys Western political thought. We will focus in particular on the republican tradition, the oldest and most influential body of democratic theory in the Western canon, and the rise of liberalism. Topics will include revolution and the problem of political stability, the relationship between the citizen and the state, the virtues and vices of democracy, social contract and consent theory, gender as a category of political thought, and myriad others too numerous to mention.
This is a lecture and discussion course, with a strong emphasis on discussion. You are expected to complete the readings before class and come prepared to participate in a lively and thoughtful manner.
Four Texts on Socrates
Aristotle, The Politics
Machiavelli, The Prince & Discourses on Livy
Locke, Second Treatise
Ritter & Bondanella, Rousseau’s Political Writings
**Readings marked [R] are on reserve at the library
Your grade will be calculated as follows:
|Summary of Aristotle:||15%|
|Summary of Pitkin:||15%|
|Comparison of Locke & Hobbes||20%|
All papers may be rewritten as often as you like for a new grade.
CRITERIA FOR FULFILLING WRITING REQUIREMENT:
For those of you working on a writing portfolio, the papers in this class will satisfy the following criteria:
Participation: Your participation grade will be based on the frequency and thoughtfulness of your contributions to class discussion. Attendance alone does not count as participation.
Summary of Aristotle Bk I: You will prepare a concise, accurate summary of the text. You should identify and explain the theorist’s thesis and most important points. Your summary may not exceed 3 pages (12-pt font, 1" margins, double-spaced). This exercise will develop your ability to understand a complex text, identify its central arguments and communicate them simply and accurately. Critical analysis of the text is not part of this assignment.
Summary of Pitkin: Pitkin is on reserve at the library. You should summarize the author’s central thesis and argument. The summary may not exceed 3 pages (12-pt font, 1" margins, double-spaced). Critical analysis of the text is not part of this assignment.
Comparison of Locke and Hobbes: Both Hobbes and Locke begin with state of nature, but Hobbes ends up endorsing absolutism while Locke supports representative, limited government. Identify the key differences in their arguments that lead to this result. Note: it is not sufficient to list the differences between the theorists. You must also explain how certain differences in their assumptions or reasoning lead them to different conclusions.
As always, your paper should have a clearly stated thesis (e.g. "Locke and Hobbes reach different conclusions because….") This paper may not exceed 4 pp. (12-pt font, 1" margins, double-spaced). This exercise will develop your ability to understand the logic of complex arguments, explain that logic concisely and accurately, and relate texts to one another. Critical evaluation is not part of this assignment.
Final Paper: You may choose from among the suggested topics. If none of these questions appeal to you, you should meet with me to discuss a different topic. Guidelines:
There is no page limit, but I expect this paper to be 7-9 pages.
*Note on documentation: no outside research is necessary for these assignments, so you do not need to include a bibliography. However, when refer to the text (with a quotation, for example) you must cite the page number.
Final paper suggested topics:
Class 1: Why Plato and not Confucius?
Class 2: Introduction to political theory
Class 3: Sinclair, Democracy and Participation in Athens, pp. 1-34 [R]
Class 4: Plato, Apology
Class 5: Plato, Crito
Class 6: Trial of Socrates
Class 7: Aristotle, The Politics, Bk I
Class 8: Aristotle Bk III, ch. 1-13
*Summary of Aristotle, Bk I due
Class 9: Aristotle Bk IV ch. 2, 9, 11
Class 10: Aristotle Bk V ch. 1-11
Class 11: Machiavelli, The Prince, preface - Ch. 15
Class 12: The Prince, Ch. 16 - end
Class 13: Pitkin, Fortune is a Woman, Ch. 6 [R]
*Summary of Pitkin, Fortune is a Woman, Ch. 6 due
Class 14: Discourses on Livy, Bk I, Ch. 1 – 10, 17, 18
Class 15: Bk II, Intro – Ch. 4; Bk III Ch. 1– 9
*Trial of Machiavelli
Class 16: Hobbes, Ch. 1-12
Class 17: Hobbes, Ch. 13-21
Class 18: Hobbes, Ch. 29-30
Herzog, Happy Slaves, Ch. 3, through p. 99 [R]
*Final rewrite of Aristotle paper due
Class 19: Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Ch. 1 - 10
Class 20: Locke, Ch. 11 -16
*Final rewrite of Pitkin paper due
Class 21: cont.
Class 22: Locke, Ch. 17-19
*Comparison of Locke and Hobbes due
Class 23: MacPherson, Political Theory of Possessive Individualism, pp. 194-220 [R]
Class 24: Declaration of Independence [Handout]
Wesley, A Calm Address to Our American Colonies [Handout]
Class 25: Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, though Part One
Class 26: Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, Part Two
*Final paper due
Class 27: Rousseau, On Social Contract, Bk. I, Ch. 6, Bk. II, Ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6,7
Class 28: Yack, Longing for Total Revolution, pp. 3-27 [R]
*Final rewrites of Hobbes/Locke paper due
Final rewrites of final paper due Monday, Nov. 19