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

Fall 2005

GOV 335M • Theoretical Foundations of Modern Politics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37653 MWF
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
GAR 313

Course Description

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary. This course examines the philosophical 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 Machiavello'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 on the impact that the revolutionary doctrines of modern political philosophy have had on the political world in which we live.

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on a midterm, a final exam, one essay, and several in-class quizzes on the readings. Class participation will also be taken into account.


Machiavelli, The Prince (University of Chicago Press) Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett) Locke, Second Treatise of Government (Hackett) Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses (St. Martin's Press) Rousseau, On the Social Contract (St. Martin's Press) Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life (Hackett) Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Penguin)


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