Laurence Cooper Fall 1997
416 Willis Office Hrs: Tuesday 10-12
Phone: x4111 And by appt.


I. Purpose and Scope

In this course we shall examine the development of Western political thought through a careful reading of several classic texts. Since the works to be read are often difficult and subtle, you should be sure to give them the time and attention they require. It is very important that you come to class prepared to discuss the assigned material.

For additional help with the reading, you may consult the appropriate chapters of History of Political Philosophy, edited by Strauss and Cropsey, which has been placed on reserve in the library. I encourage you, however, to read the texts carefully on your own before consulting any secondary works.

II. Course Requirements 

In addition to careful and timely reading of the assigned texts there will be two short papers (25% each) and a final exam (40%). Class participation will count for 10%.


III. Academic Honesty 

In accordance with Carleton policy, strict standards of academic integrity will be upheld in this class. Your signature on a test or assignment means that you have neither given nor received unauthorized aid. Students who are found to have violated this standard can expect severe sanctions.

 IV. Assigned Texts 

The following books are available for purchase at the bookstore:

Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates

Aristotle, The Politics (trans. Lord)

Machiavelli, The Prince (trans. Mansfield)

Hobbes, Leviathan

Locke, Second Treatise of Government

Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses (trans. Masters)

Mill, On Liberty


V. Reading Schedule

September 12 Plato, Apology
September 15 Plato, Crito
September 17 Aristotle, Book I, Chapters 1-2
September 19 Aristotle, Book I, remainder
September 22 Aristotle, Book II
September 24 Aristotle, Book III
September 26 Aristotle, Book IV
September 29 Aristotle, Book V
October 1 Aristotle, Book VI
October 3 Aristotle, Books VII-VIII
October 6 Machiavelli, Chapters 1-8 (pp. 3-38)
October 8 Machiavelli, Chapters 9-19 (pp. 38-82)
October 10 Machiavelli, Chapters 20-26 (pp. 83-105)


October 13 Mid-term Break
October 15 Hobbes, Author's Introduction and Chapters 11, 13-15
October 17 Hobbes, Chapters 17-18, 19 (first 7 paragraphs only), 21 and 29
October 20 Locke, Chapters 1-4
October 22 Locke, Chapters 5-6
October 24 Locke, Chapters 7-8
October 27 Locke, Chapters 9-11
October 29 Locke, Chapters 18-19
October 31 Rousseau, First Discourse
November 3 Rousseau, Second Discourse, Preface and Part One
November 5 Rousseau, Second Discourse, Part Two
November 7 Review previous reading


November10 Mill, Chapters 1 and 3
November12 Mill, Chapters 4 and 5
November 14 Conclusion