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

Spring 2008

GOV 335M • Might and Right Among Nations

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39275 MWF
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
CAL 100
Pangle, T

Course Description

A study of major alternative approaches, elaborated by some of the greatest political theorists, to the question of the moral character of international relations. The basic aim of the course is twofold: 1) to gain a better understanding of what kind of justice and law (if any) exists among nations; and 2) to gain a better understanding of what justice itself means, in human relations, as its nature is revealed under the stress of the intensely competitive international arena, always overshadowed by the threat of war. We will examine the original, foundational philosophic arguments for: the classical republican struggle for and against empire (Thucydides); Christian Just War theory (Aquinas and Vitoria); Islamic Jihad Theory (Shaybani, Alfarabi, Avicenna, Ibn Khaldun); the moral supremacy of independent national sovereignty (Hobbes); global moral community achieved through commercialization (Montesquieu); world legal order achieved through international organization (Kant). We will try to uncover the hidden philosophic foundations of our contemporary ways of thinking, and confront our assumptions with challenges from earlier, alien ways of conceiving the world. While we will not forget contemporary problems and issues, we will try to transcend our passionate biases, and view our own immediate situation from a liberating distance, by taking as our chief empirical focus the philosophic historian Thucydides' dramatic presentation of The Peloponnesian Wara moral as well as military struggle pitting the imperialism of one of historys greatest democracies (Periclean Athens) against the anti-imperialism of one of the most conservative and pious aristocracies in history (Sparta).

Grading Policy

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND BASIS OF GRADING: THERE ARE TWO OPTIONS, ONE OF WHICH YOU MUST CHOOSE BY OPTION ONEMID-TERM EXAM OPTION 40%Final Exam, held in the final exam period; format will be questions selected at random from study questions handed out at the end of term covering material from the entire term. 30%Mid-term closed book exam on Thucydides, administered in class, on questions chosen at random from study questions handed out two weeks before. 20%Attendance (required) at all lectures; each absence not excused by a doctor's note will subtract 2% from the overall final grade. 10%Answers to short quizzes on the reading administered at the start of the class hour on the following Mondays (when there will be no lecture)Jan. and clues for which will be in the weekly reading and study question emailings. OPTION TWOPAPER/DISCUSSION OPTION 35%Final Exam, held in the final exam period; format will be questions selected at random from study questions handed out at the end of term covering material from the entire term. 30%Two short analytical/interpretative essays (each about three pages, or 1000 words maximum) on topics to be assigned. To be handed in under door of Mezes 3.154 by 5 P. M. on . Late papers penalized 3% per calendar day. 15%Attendance (required) at all lectures and discussion sections; each absence not excused by a doctors note will subtract 2% from the overall final grade. 10%Answers to short quizzes on the reading administered at discussion sections, clues for which will be in the weekly reading and study question emailings. 10%Participation, in discussion sections, which will meet the weeks of. Discussion sections will be organized in class Friday, January: come prepared wit your calendar schedule.

Texts

The Landmark Thucydides, Simon & Schuster, ISBN# 0684827905 Robert B. Strassler, ed. Vitoria, Political Writings, Cambridge, ISBN# 052136714x Pagden & Lawrence, eds.  Thomas Hobbes, On the Citizen, Cambridge, ISBN# 0521437806 Tuck and Silverthorne, eds.  Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, Cambridge, ISBN# 0521369746 Anne Cohler et al., trans.  I. Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Harper, ISBN# 0061311596 H. J. Paton, trans., and Political Writings, Cambridge, ISBN# 0521398371, H. Reiss, ed.  Selected excerpts from Thucydides, Thomas Aquinas, Rousseau, and The Federalist in photocopied booklet available for purchase at Co-op.  Readings on the Political Theory of Jihad (from key texts of Ibn Khaldun, Shaybani, Alfarabi, and Avicenna) in photocopied booklet available for purchase at Co-op. THE LECTURES AND DISCUSSION SECTIONS WILL PROCEED MAINLY BY WAY OF CLOSE TEXTUAL ANALYSIS: YOU SHOULD BRING YOUR COPY OF THE ASSIGNED READING TEXT TO EVERY CLASS, SO AS TO BE ABLE TO FOLLOW THE LECTURES AND DISCUSSIONS.

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