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

Spring 2010

GOV 335M • Rousseau and Nietzche

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38810 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
WAG 420

Course Description

This course will study Rousseau's Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts and Emile, followed by Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Our aim will be to understand both thinkers’ radical and comprehensive critiques of the Enlightenment or the modern rationalist project of reforming politics and society. Major themes will be human nature and its relation to history, the character of human excellence, freedom, and the relationship of the philosopher to the rest of society. Special attention will be given to Rousseau’s and Nietzsche’s contrasting assessments of compassion, equality, democracy, and the Christian faith. Throughout the course, we will reflect on the impact that the revolutionary teachings of these philosophers have had on the political world in which we live. Some previous study of political philosophy is strongly recommended.

Grading Policy

Attendance, quizzes, and participation: 25%; midterm: 20%; 5-7 page paper: 25%; final exam: 30%.


Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses, ed. Masters (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1964), ISBN 0312694407. Rousseau, Emile, ed. Bloom (New York: Basic Books, 1979), ISBN 0465019315. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, ed. Kaufmann (New York: Vintage), ISBN 0679724656.


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