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

Jeffrey Abramson

Professor Ph.D., Harvard University

Professor, Fellow of the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Chair in Government
Jeffrey Abramson

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Biography

Courses taught: Jeffrey Abramson teaches in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties, the jury, and political theory. He is the author of We, the Jury: the Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy (Harvard 2000) as well as numerous law review articles. Professor Abramson teaches courses in the Department of Government in political theory.

Awards/Honors:
Professor Abramson clerked for Rose Bird, the late Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, and served as an assistant district attorney in Massachusetts. He has recently completed an assignment as a court-appointed jury expert for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Massachusetts.

Recent Publications:
2009. Minerva's Owl: The Tradition of Western Political Thought. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

GOV 314 • Competing Visions Good Life

39090 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm MEZ B0.306
(also listed as CTI 303 )
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Course Description:

This is a basic introductory course to political philosophy. Through a reading of works of political thought from Plato to the present, we confront enduring debates about the meaning of liberty, tolerance, equality, justice and the good life.

 

Preequesities: none

Grading Policy:  plus or minus grades.   Midterm Exam counts 25%; Final exam counts 60%; attendance and participation counts 15%

Texts: see accompanying syllabus

Flag: Ethics and leadership.

GOV 382M • Political Theory And The Law

39380 • Fall 2013
Meets W 330pm-630pm BAT 1.104
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Prerequisites

Enrollment is limited to graduate students, or by permission of the instructor. 

 

Course Description

This seminar will explore key cases and controversies in public law from the perspective of the political theories that are implicit in legal doctrines.  Legal topics include freedom of religion; freedom of speech; privacy law; racial and sexual discrimination, including affirmative action.  Texts of political philosophy will include works of the classical philosophers such as Hobbes, Rousseau, and Mill, as well as writings of contemporary philosophers such as Rawls, Dworkin, Nozick, Walzer, Macintyre, Sandel, and Nussbaum.

 

Grading Policy

Plus or minus grades.

GOV 314 • Competing Visions Good Life

38755 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm UTC 3.112
(also listed as CTI 303 )
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This is a basic introductory course to political philosophy. Through a reading of works of political thought from Plato to the present, we confront enduring debates about the meaning of liberty, tolerance, equality, justice and the good life.

                         

Books for Purchase:

Plato:        Euthyphro, Apology, Crito (Library of Liberal Arts)

Plato:       Republic (Basic Books)

Sophocles:   Three Theban Plays (Penguin)

Aristotle:   Nichomachean Ethics (Hackett)

Aristotle:   Politics (Oxford)

Augustine:   Confessions (Penguin)

Machiavelli: The Prince and the Discourses (Modern Library)

Hobbes:      Leviathan (Penguin)

Locke:       Letter Concerning Toleration (Hackett)

Locke:       Second Treatise on Government (Hackett)

Rousseau:    Basic Political Writings (Hackett)

Mill:        On Liberty (Hackett)

Abramson:    Minerva’s Owl (Harvard)    

                                

Topics and Readings:

 

1.  Introduction:  Human Nature and Politics.

 

2.  The Greek Polis:  Citizenship and the Good Life:

 PLATO          Apology  (entire).

                     Crito    (entire).

                     Republic (entire).

 SOPHOCLES Antigone (entire).

 ARISTOTLE Politics (Oxford, pb) Bk. I, Chs. 1-6;                            

Bk II, Chs. 1-5; Bk. III, Chs. 6-13; Bk. IV,

                     Chs. 1,2, 6-9, ll; Bk. V, Chs. 1,2; Bk. VI,

                     Chs. 2,3; Bk. VII, Chs. 1-3, 9.

 

                     Ethics, Bks. III (secs. 6-12; IV-V; VIII-IX.

                  

3.  The Fall of the Greek Polis and the Rise of the City of God:

 

      AUGUSTINE Confessions, Bks I-V, VII, VIII.

 

4.  The Origins of a New Secular State:  The Power Vocabulary of the Political Professional:

 

      MACHIAVELLI   Prince (entire).

 Discourses,  Bk. I, introduction, Chs. 1-21, 24-27, 37, 40, 47, 49, 55, 58; Bk. II,                          Introduction, Chs. 1, 2, 6, 13, 19, 20, 23;Bk. III, Chs. 1, 3, 6, 19-22, 25, 30, 41.

 

5. Liberalism:  Rights, Privacy, Individualism, and Tolerance:

 

      HOBBES        Leviathan, Introduction, Part One (entire);                     Part Two, Chs. 17-21,24, 26, 28, 30.

              

      LOCKE         Letter Concerning Toleration (entire).

 

                     Second Treatise of Govt., chs.1-14, 18-19.

 

6.  Combining Democracy with Liberalism:  Emerging Tensions

    between the Values of Equality and Freedom:

 

      ROUSSEAU      Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (all)

                    

                     The Social Contract (all)               

 

      MILL          On Liberty (all)

 

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation: 10% of grade

 

Mid-term Examination (Feb. 23): 25% of grade

 

Paper (7-8 pages)(April 5):  25% of grade

 

Final Examination (Wed., May 9, 9:00-12:00 noon): 40% of grade

 

(Course grading policy is plus or minus grades)

 

GOV 357M • Civil Liberties

38745 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 203
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Prerequisites

None

 

Description

In this class, we will attempt to bring together the study of public law and political theory by exploring the philosophical principles underlying court decisions on civil liberties.  For 2009, topics to be covered include: (1) freedom of religion; (2) freedom of speech; (3) abortion; (4) sexual orientation; (5) racial and sex discrimination; and (6) affirmative action.

 

Grading Policy  

Plus and minus grades based on Paper (20%), midterm (30%), final exam (40%), attendance and participation (10%).

 

Texts

1.   Sullivan and Gunther, Constitutional Law (17th ed).

2.   Sullivan and Gunther, 2011 Supplement to Constitutional Law.

3.   Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty.

4.   Rawls, A Theory of Justice.

5.   Cohen, Marshall, ed., Rights and Wrongs of Abortion.

 

GOV 314 • Competing Visions Good Life

38600 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm UTC 3.110
(also listed as CTI 303 )
show description

 

This is a basic introductory course to political philosophy. Through a reading of works of political thought from Plato to the present, we confront enduring debates about the meaning of liberty, tolerance, equality, justice and the good life.

Books for Purchase:

Plato:     Euthyphro, Apology, Crito (Library of Liberal Arts)

Plato:     Republic (Basic Books)

Sophocles:   Three Theban Plays (Penguin)

Aristotle:   Nichomachean Ethics (Hackett)

Aristotle:   Politics (Oxford)

Augustine:   Confessions (Penguin)

Machiavelli: The Prince and the Discourses (Modern Library)

Hobbes:      Leviathan (Penguin)

Locke:       Letter Concerning Toleration (Hackett)

Locke:       Second Treatise on Government (Hackett)

Rousseau:    Basic Political Writings (Hackett)

Mill:        On Liberty (Hackett)

Abramson:    Minerva’s Owl (Harvard)    

 

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation: 10% of grade

Mid-term Examination (Feb. 24) (25% of grade)

Paper (7-8 pages)(April 5) (25% of grade)

Final Examination (May 17) (40% of grade)

Course grading policy is plus or minus grades

GOV 679HA • Honors Tutorial Course

38885 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 330pm-630pm BAT 5.102
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see syllabus

GOV 314 • Competing Visions Good Life

38830 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm UTC 3.110
(also listed as CTI 303 )
show description

This is a basic introductory course to political philosophy. Through a reading of works of political thought from Plato to         the present, we confront enduring debates about the meaning of liberty, tolerance, equality, justice and the good life.

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