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

Spring 2006

GOV 314 • Competing Visions of the Good Life and the Just Society

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37695 MWF
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
MEZ 1.306
Pangle, T

Course Description

Does not fulfil any part of the legislative requirement for government. This course introduces students to the great warring conceptions of the moral foundations and goals of political life, as these have been elaborated by the most revolutionary thinkers in the history of political philosophy. We will begin by confronting the radical challenges posed to our contemporary, liberal-democratic moral assumptions by the visions of justice, of citizenship, and of human flourishing that are elaborated in classical republicanism, in Socratic philosophy, and in medieval Christian political theology. Next we will explore the philosophic ground of "The Enlightenment"the vast cultural revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that overthrew classical and Christian theory and practice, in order to bring into being the unprecedented secular, technological, rights-centered ideals and institutions and practices that culminate in our American society as analyzed by Tocqueville. In the last weeks we will confront the shattering late-modern and post-modern rejections of our bourgeois, capitalist, mass-democratic society: first, in Rousseau's still-reverberating rebellion against the liberal Enlightenment, and then in the consequent late-modern and post-modern revolutionary atheisms of the Left (Marx) and of the Right (Nietzsche).

Grading Policy

35% Final Exam, held at regularly scheduled time in exam period; format will be broad essay questions selected from study questions handed out at the end of term. 20%Attendance (required) at lectures and discussion sections, and answers to spot quizzes on the reading (each student should bring to every lecture and discussion section a 3" X 5 card for answering in a few minutes a quiz question, that will be easy if you have done the reading). Grade will be calculated by subtracting a penalty of 2% for every absence from lecture or discussion section (without a doctor's excuse) from the average grade for all the quizzes. 40%Two take-home exams (20% each); format will be broad essay questions, handed out about two weeks before the due date; length is about five typed double-spaced pages, or maximum 1500 words. 5%Participation, esp. in discussion sections.


Plato Apology of Socrates (in Four Texts on Socrates, West. trans., Cornell U. Press) Aristotle Politics, (Simpson trans., Univ. of North Carolina) St. Thomas Aquinas, On Law, Morality, and Politics (Baumgarth ed., Hackett) Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Curley ed., Hackett) John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (Cox ed., Crofts Classics) Jean-Jacques Rousseau, First and Second Discourses (Masters trans., St. Martins) Karl Marx, 1844 Manuscripts, and Communist Manifesto (Prometheus) Alexis DeTocqueville, Democracy in America (Kessler ed., Hackett) Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Kaufmann trans., Penguin)


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