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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2006

GOV 335M • Theoretical Foundations of Modern Politics-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39705 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Pangle, L

Course Description

Contains a substantial writing component and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

This course examines the philosophical origins of modern politics and culture by looking at the works of several authors whose writings played decisive roles in the rise and development of "modernity". In our study of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Nietzsche, we will consider how modern political thought broke with ancient republicanism and the medieval Christian tradition to offer new goals and principles to guide political life. We will consider the differing views of these authors on issues such as the aims and limits of politics, the role of morality in the harsh world of political necessity, the proper place of religion and reason in political life, and the nature and basis of justice, freedom, and equality. Throughout the course, we will reflect on the impact that the revolutionary doctrines of modern political philosophy have had on the political world in which we live.

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on three short essays, a final exam, and class participation.


Machiavelli, The Prince (Chicago, ISBN 0226500381) Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett, ISBN 0872201775) Locke, Second Treatise of Government (Hackett, ISBN 0915144867) Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration (Hackett, ISBN 091514560X) Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses (St. Martin's, ISBN 0312694407) Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life (Hackett, ISBN 0915144948) Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Vintage, ISBN 0679724656)


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