PS101 - Making sense of society. An overview on Western major political thinkers
The class introduces the student to the Western political thought by analyzing works by the most important thinkers from this tradition. Starting with Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics and their different approach to the question of State, we will move to the modern theory of absolute monarchy with Hobbes on the one hand, and the foundation of liberal thought with John Locke on the other. After considering Machiavelli as the “founder” of modern political thought, we will deal with Rousseau’s contractualism, and finally consider Hegel’s theory of modern absolutism, and Marx’s criticism of the State as bourgeois class apparatus.
The course will be based on the reading of selected passages from the respective works of the mentioned thinkers followed by group discussions and paper presentations. The student will be introduced to crucial concepts of the Western political tradition in different historical periods, such as slavery, democracy, absolutism, liberalism, class, conflict, etc.
No particular prerequisite. Familiarity with historical and political studies.
Student Learning Expectations
A deeper comprehension of that tradition of Western political thought and its fundamental concepts.
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