Political Science 160

Spring 1999


Professor: Laurence Cooper

Office: Willis 416

Phone: x4111 (Office)

Email: lcooper@carleton.edu

Office Hours

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 closed 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 papers (each counting for 25% of your grade) and a final exam (40%). Class participation will count for 10%. I may also give a pop quiz from time to time, especially if students do not seem to have completed the reading assignments in a timely fashion.

III. Academic Honesty

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 and Aristophanes, Four Texts on Socrates (trans. West and West)

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)

Tocqueville, Democracy in America (ed. Heffner)

V. Class Schedule

March 29: Introduction

I. Ancient Political Philosophy

March 31: Plato, Apology of Socrates (in Four Texts on Socrates)

April 2: Aristophanes, Clouds (in Four Texts on Socrates)

5: Plato, Crito (in Four Texts on Socrates)

7: Aristotle, Book I, Chapters 1-2

9: Aristotle, Book I, remainder

12: Aristotle, Book II, Chapters 1-5 and 7-8

14: Aristotle, Book III

16: Aristotle, Book IV, Chapters 1-12, Book V, Chapters 1-4 and 8-9, and Book VI, Chapter 2

19: Aristotle, Book VII

II. The Modern Departure

21: Machiavelli, Letter of Dedication, Chapters 1-15 and the Letter to Vettori (at the end)


23: Machiavelli, Chapters 16-26

26: Hobbes, Introduction (his intro., not the editor's) and Chapters 11 and 13-15

28: Hobbes, Chapters 17-18, 19 (first 7 paragraphs only), 21 and 29

30: Review previous reading

May 3: Mid-term break

5: Locke, Chapters 1-5

7: Locke, Chapters 6-8

10: Locke, Chapters 9-11, 18-19 and the American Declaration of Independence

III. Second Thoughts About Modernity: A (Partial) Return to the Ancients

12: Rousseau, First Discourse


14: Rousseau, Second Discourse, Dedication to Geneva, Preface, and Part One

17: Rousseau, Second Discourse, Part Two

19: Review Second Discourse

21: No class

24: Tocqueville, pp. 26-38, 49-58 and 112-28

26: Tocqueville, pp. 189-98, 143-58, 209-20 and 256-61

28: Tocqueville, pp. 289-314

31: Review previous reading

June 2: Conclusion