GOV 382K • Studies in Political Theory and Philosophy
12:30 PM-3:30 PM
Graduate standing required. Consent of the graduate advisor must be obtained. For students in the Department of Government, this is the "core" course which satisfies the political theory requirement. By the time you are up for tenure, all of the questions that seemed so up-to-date in graduate school will be hopelessly antiquated. If you really want to learn political theory, you must spend some time with the even older questions that are never out of date. What is justice? Why should I be just? What is the best regime? How does one kind of regime turn into another? Are the basics of right and wrong known to everyone? Can people really rule themselves? Does a people always get the government it deserves? Is it right to do evil that good may result? In reflecting on such questions it makes sense to dwell with the most original and profound thinkers in the history of political thought. This is the only course in the Department of Government which offers you such an opportunity. Even other political theory courses (including my own) focus on only particular aspects of the Western tradition. Our survey includes two classical pagans, two classical Christian, two classical social contractarians, and two classical utilitarians. Students from outside other departments (Philosophy, Classics, etc.) are welcome.
Required. Try to use the same editions I've ordered through the bookstore, because these are used in class. (1) Plato, Gorgias (Oxford). (2) Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Bobbs-Merrill). (3) Augustine, The City of God (Penguin). (4) Thomas Aquinas, The Political Ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas (Hafner). (5) Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Penguin). (6) John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge). (7) Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legislation, online at http://www.laits.utexas.edu/poltheory/bentham/ipml/ipml.detoc.html. (8) John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (Hackett).