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

Fall 2009

GOV 351D • Theoretical Foundations of Modern Politics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39175 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
UTC 3.134
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, Locke’s 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% (Note: These percentages are approximate, and the paper may be made optional.)


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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