Theoretical Foundations of Modern Politics
GOV 351D/CTI 321
Professor Maurizio Viroli
Class: TTH 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM in WAG 420
The main goal of this course is to offer students a historical and philosophical introduction to political philosophy. Unlike most introductory courses in political theory, GOV 351 does not attempt to cover the whole history of political philosophy from ancient Greece to our time, but focuses on a main theme, namely, the excellence of politics. It uses a few ancient and modern philosophers whose writings are particularly relevant for the topic of the course: Arendt, Aristotle, Cicero, Erasmus, Hobbes, Kant, Machiavelli, Marx, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Thucydides.
Laptop Policy - No laptops or cell phones should be used, seen, or heard during class. All power point slides will be available online. Please take any additional notes by hand.
Reading List - Books marked with * are required; all the others are recommended.
Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Harcourt Brace
*Aristotle, Politics, University of Chicago Press
*Cicero, On Duties, Cambridge University Press
Constant, “Of the Liberty of the Ancients” in Constant, Political Writings, Cambridge University Press
*Dostoevsky, The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor, Filiquarian Publishing
Erasmus, The Education of a Christian Prince, Cambridge University Press
Gentile, Politics as Religion, Princeton University Press
*Hobbes, Leviathan, Cambridge University Press
*Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Cambridge University Press
*Kant, “What is Enlightenment?,” “Perpetual Peace,” and “Idea for a Universal History,” in Kant, Political Writings, Cambridge University Press
*Machiavelli, The Prince, Oxford University Press
Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, University of Chicago Press
Marx, “The Communist Manifesto” in The Marx-Engels Reader, Tucker ed., Norton
Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, Cambridge University Press
*Rousseau, “Discourse on Inequality” and “Discourse on Political Economy,” in Rousseau, Basic Political Writings, Hackett
Skinner, Renaissance Virtues (selection), Cambridge University Press
*Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Mayer ed., Harper Collins
*Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Martin Hammond edition, Oxford University Press
Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, Basic Books
*Walzer, Exodus and Revolution, Basic Books
Assignments and Grading
This course will use plus/minus grading. The midterm will consist of a six-page paper (typed and double-spaced) and will constitute 40% of your grade. The final will consist of an eight- page paper (typed and double-spaced) and will constitute 50% of your grade. For each paper you will be given four prompts of which you will choose one to address in your paper.
Attendance will constitute 10% of your grade. You may miss two classes without penalty to your attendance grade, but you will lose one percentage point for each unexcused absence after that. All requests for excused absences must be submitted in writing to your TA with proper documentation at least one week in advance, except in cases of emergency.