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

Fall 2007

GOV 335M • Theoretical Foundations of Modern Politics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40000 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
PAR 203
Stauffer, Devin

Course Description

This course examines the philosophic 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's Prince, Hobbes Leviathan, Lockes Second Treatise of Government, and selected political writings of Rousseau and Nietzsche, we will consider how modern political thought broke with the past and offered a new set of political visions. We will consider the differing views of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Nietzsche 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 of the impact that the revolutionary doctrines of modern political philosophy have had on the political world in which we live.

Grading Policy

Paper: 20% First exam: 25% Second exam: 25% Attendance: 10% Participation: 10% Quizzes: 10%


Machiavelli, The Prince (University of Chicago) Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett) Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Yale) Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses (St. Martin's Press) Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Penguin)


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