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

Political Theory

POLITICAL THEORY studies and contributes to an old and ever-evolving dialogue about the ultimate realities that shape political life and the ultimate principles that should guide it. Animated by the Socratic spirit, this dialogue has been carried on by both secular and religious thinkers, non-Western as well as Western. The participants in this conversation include poets and historians and active civic leaders as well as philosophers and theorists of many sorts, some academic, some not. Central to political theory is a sustained inquiry into the nature of justice, and into the fundamental needs, both spiritual and material, of humanity in general and of particular groups. Political theory seeks to evaluate the contrasting conceptions of justice and of the good life that have been advanced by different thinkers and societies, critically examining the most important rival regimes or constitutional structures that have been promoted as best fulfilling humanityÕs truest political needs and goals. At the same time, political theory wrestles with urgent issues confronting contemporary society. Political theory draws on, contributes to, interrogates, and sometimes criticizes the research agendas of social scientists employing contemporary empirical research methods.

Particular topics of importance to political theory include: the ends, proper extent of, and necessary restrictions on governmental power; the meaning, and the evidence for, natural right or rights and natural law; the character and the limitations of the rule of law; the formation of sound political judgment and the development of good leadership; the moral demands of adequate representation; the meaning of full citizenship and civic virtue and the requisites of fair and effective civic participation; the proper role of religion in civil society; the relation of theory to practice, including theoryÕs role in informing public policy; the relative merits of the active and contemplative lives; the epistemologies of the social sciences; the pros and cons of liberal republicanism; adjudicating the competing moral demands of individual liberty, community, and equality—including gender equality and its implications for the family; issues of justice raised by contemporary struggles for racial equality; political identity and the problem of identity politics; the moral demands and implications of contemporary post-colonial societies; and the principles of justice that should govern relations among nations, in times of both war and peace.

Faculty

Coursework

All graduate students in government are required to take the political theory core seminar, a survey of major works in the history of political philosophy. Students choosing political theory as one of their two fields must take an additional four graduate seminars in political theory. Theory students who have a strong background in the history of political philosophy may, with permission of the field chair, substitute another theory seminar for the core course. These are minimal requirements; it is strongly recommended that all students who intend to write dissertations in political theory take six or more theory seminars.

Recent, Current, and Upcoming Graduate Seminars

2004-05
Plato’s Republic (T. Pangle)
Spinoza (T. Pangle)
Hobbes and Locke (Martinich)
Marx vs. Rawls (Braybrooke)
Politics and the Problem of Evil (Marshall)
Constitutional Theory (Tulis)

2005-06
Socratic Political Philosophy (Stauffer)
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (L. Pangle)
The Challenge of Nietzsche (T. Pangle)
Modern and Post-Modern Political Theory (Edwards)
Emergency Power and Constitutional Theory (Tulis)
State Sovereignty and Human Rights (Gregg)
Feminist Theory (Ritter)

2006-07
Political Theory Core Seminar (Muirhead, Fall)
Xenophon and Machiavelli on Political Ambition (L. Pangle, Spring)
Natural Law (Budziszewski)
Hobbes (D. Stauffer, Fall)
Rousseau (T. Pangle, Spring)
Kant and Hegel (Gregg, Spring)
Tocqueville (Tulis, Fall)

2007-08
Constitutional Conflict (Tulis, Fall)
Studies in Political Theory and Philosophy (Budziszewski, Fall)
Plato’s Republic (L. Pangle, Fall)
Feminist Theory (Ritter, Fall)
Thucydides’ Political Realism (Stauffer, Fall)

Global Justice (Gregg, Spring)
Philosophical Foundations of Aristotle in Political Science (T. Pangle, Spring)
Latin American Political Though (Hooker, Spring)

2008-09
Studies in Political Theory and Philosophy (Muirhead, Fall)
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (L. Pangle, Fall)
Empire and Early Modern Theory (Gregg, Fall)
Hobbes and Locke (Martinich, Fall)
Political Philosophy/Religion/Political Theology (Budziszewski, Fall)

Liberalism and Multiculturalism (Hooker, Spring)
Socratic Political Philosophy (Stauffer, Spring)
Spinoza (T. Pangle, Spring)

2009-10
Interpretations of American Politics (Tulis, Fall)
Early Cosmopolitan Political Thought (Gregg, Fall)
Hobbes: Origins of Modern Natural Rights (Stauffer, Fall)
Political Philosophy of Plato (L. Pangle, Fall)

Studies in Political Theory and Philosophy (Budziszewski, Spring)
Socratic Political Philosophy (T. Pangle, Spring)
Law and Justice (Martinich, Spring)

2010-11
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (L. Pangle, Fall)
Latin American Political Thought (Hooker, Fall)
Platonic Political Philosophy (De. Stauffer, Fall)

Studies In Political Theory & Philosophy (Budziszewski, Spring)
Nietzsche's Mature Political Thought (T. Pangle, Spring)
Tocqueville (Tulis, Spring)

2011-12
Natural Law Tradition (Budziszewski, Fall)
Political Thought of Leo Strauss (De. Stauffer, Fall)

African-American and Latin American Political Thought (Hooker, Spring)
Maimonides' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED (T. Pangle, Spring)
Plato's LAWS (L. Pangle, Spring)

2012-13
U.S. African-American and Latin American Political Thought (Hooker, Fall)

Aquinas: Treaty on Law (Budziszewski, Spring)
Studies in Political Theory & Philosophy (Gregg, Spring)
Thucydides on War and Empire I (T. Pangle, Spring)
Xenophon and Machiavellil (L. Pangle, Spring)

The Preliminary Field Exam

An eight hour, one day, sit down, closed book exam which will require answering three questions, chosen from a longer list of two or three questions in each of three sections, all on works in the Core Reading List. However, at the student's option, one of the three questions may be chosen from two or three questions based on a satellite list that has been constructed by the student in consultation with, and approved by, advisors and the field chair.

Spring 2014 Preliminary Exam

Spring 2013 Preliminary Exam, Fall 2012 Preliminary Exam, Spring 2012 Preliminary Exam, Fall 2011 Preliminary Exam, Spring 2011 Preliminary Exam, Fall 2010 Preliminary Exam, Past preliminary examinations

The Core Reading List

1. Thucydides, Peloponnesian War
2. Plato, Apology of Socrates; Republic; Gorgias
3. Aristotle, Politics; Nicomachean Ethics
4. Xenophon: Education of Cyrus
5. Augustine, City of God, selections (Book II, Chapters 2, 21; V, 12-21; XII, 1-8; XIV,
1-9, 28; XIX, 1-7, 12-17, 21, 24-28)
6. Thomas Aquinas, selections from Summa Theologiae etc. (all of volume edited by Dino Bigongiari, Hafner publ.)
7. Machiavelli, Prince; Discourses
8. Hobbes, Leviathan
9. Locke, Second Treatise of Government; Letter on Toleration
10. Rousseau, First Discourse, Second Discourse; Social Contract
11. Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Parts 1 & 2; Political Writings (in H. Reiss, ed., Cambridge U. P.)
12. Hegel, Philosophy of Right
13. J. S. Mill, On Liberty
14. Marx (and Engels), Students are responsible for the following edited versions from The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. R. Tucker, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844; “Theses on Feuerbach”; The German Ideology, Part I; Capital, Volume One: all of Part I (Commodities and Money); Part II, Chapter VI only (The Buying and Selling of Labor Power)
15. Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals and Beyond Good and Evil
16. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Part One; Part Two, Ch. 4; Political Liberalism, Introduction; Lectures 1, 3, and 4.

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