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

Devin Stauffer

Associate Professor Ph.D., Boston College

Devin Stauffer

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Biography

Professor Stauffer specializes in classical and early modern political philosophy. Most of his research has focused on classical thought, but his current work also examines the origins of liberalism, the theoretical foundations of modernity, and the divide between ancient and modern political thought. Prior to coming to The University of Texas at Austin in 2004, Professor Stauffer taught at Kenyon College and St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. During his time at Kenyon College, he received two awards for teaching excellence. In 2009, he received the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award at The University of Texas at Austin.

He is the author of Plato's Introduction to the Question of Justice (SUNY, 2001), coauthor and cotranslator of Empire and the Ends of Politics: Plato's Menexenus and Pericles' Funeral Oration (Focus Philosophical Library, 1999), and author of The Unity of Plato's Gorgias: Rhetoric, Justice, and the Philosophic Life (Cambridge, 2006). Professor Stauffer has also published articles on classical and modern topics in journals such as the Review of Politics and the American Political Science Review. He has an article on Hobbes's analysis of religion forthcoming in the Journal of Politics

GOV 351D • Theor Foundtns Modern Politics

38855 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm UTC 3.134
(also listed as CTI 321 )
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Course Description

 

This course examines the philosophic 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 Machiavelli’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 of the impact that the revolutionary doctrines of modern political philosophy have had on the political world in which we live.

 

Texts

 

Machiavelli, The Prince (University of Chicago)

Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett)

Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Yale)

Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses (St. Martin’s Press)

Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Penguin)

 

Requirements and Grading

 

Paper: 20%

First exam: 25%

Second exam: 25%

Attendance: 10%

Participation: 10%

Quizzes: 10%

 

(Note:  These percentages are approximate, and the paper may be made optional.)

 

Prerequisites

 

Sophomore standing

 

Flags:

Ethics and Leadership

Global Cultures

GOV 382M • Hobbes: Origs Mod Natrl Right

39065 • Fall 2014
Meets TH 630pm-930pm GAR 1.134
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Course Description

 

This course will examine the foundations of modern political philosophy through an intensive study of Thomas Hobbes.  In particular, we will focus on Hobbes’s break with the classical tradition and his reformulation of the task and character of political philosophy, a reformulation that played a crucial role in the early modern transformation of the notion of “natural right.”  Although we will spend a great deal of time on Hobbes’s most famous work, Leviathan, we will compare Leviathan with Hobbes’s earlier expressions of his political philosophy in De Cive and Elements of Law.  These three works offer overlapping but importantly different formulations of the arguments at the center of Hobbes’s thought.  Throughout the course, we will consider why Hobbes thought it was necessary to put political philosophy on a radically new footing; why he tried to adapt methods discovered in the natural sciences and mathematics to the study of politics; and why he thought it was necessary to establish a new moral doctrine rooted in the right of individuals to seek their self-preservation.  Although this course focuses on Hobbes’s thought, it is not meant to be only a study in the history of ideas.  Hobbes’s work played an important role in preparing the way for the rise of modern liberalism, a doctrine whose current political dominance is not matched by confidence among theorists in its theoretical soundness.  One of the aims of this course is to help students think seriously about the health of liberalism today by reexamining its origins in the foundational works of early modern political philosophy.     

 

Texts

 

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Thomas Hobbes, On the Citizen

Thomas Hobbes, Human Nature and De Copore Politico

 

Grading Policy

 

Short essays: approx. 20%

Class participation: approx. 20%

Seminar Paper: approx. 60%

 

Prerequisites

 

Graduate student standing or permission of the professor.

GOV 351C • Classical Quest For Justice

38710 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm UTC 3.102
(also listed as CTI 320 )
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Course Description

What is justice?  What are its demands as a virtue of individuals?  What is its status as a guiding principle of domestic politics and as a restraint or standard in times of war?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of political orders in their quest for justice or in their pursuit of alternative ends?  What is the relationship between politics and philosophy?  In this course we will consider these fundamental and enduring questions of political philosophy primarily through a careful study of two of the masterpieces of classical antiquity:  Plato’s Republic and Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War.  Although we will supplement our study of these two great texts with a look at other works, such as Plato’s Apology of Socrates, our focus will be on reading and discussing the Republic and The Peloponnesian War.  These works will be approached, not just as crucial documents for our understanding of a distant age, but as works that still speak directly and profoundly to permanent questions of moral and political life.  

 

 

Grading Policy

Paper: 20%

First exam: 25%

Second exam: 25%

Attendance: 10%

Participation: 10%

Quizzes: 10%

(Note:  These percentages are approximate, and the paper may be made optional.)

 

 

Texts

Plato and Aristophanes, Four Texts on Socrates, trans. by T. West and G. West (Cornell)

Plato, The Republic of Plato, trans. by Allan Bloom (Basic Books)

Thucydides, The Landmark Thucydides, ed. By Robert Strassler (The Free Press) 

GOV 382M • Plato's Republic

38915 • Fall 2012
Meets TH 630pm-930pm GAR 1.134
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GOV 351D • Theoret Foundatns Of Mod Polit

38730 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm UTC 3.134
(also listed as CTI 335 )
show description

Course Description This course examines the philosophic 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 Machiavelli’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.Texts Machiavelli, The Prince (University of Chicago)Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett)Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Yale)Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses (St. Martin’s Press)Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Penguin) Requirements and Grading Paper: 20%First exam: 25%Second exam: 25% Attendance: 10% Participation: 10%Quizzes: 10%(Note:  These percentages are approximate, and the paper may be made optional.)

GOV 382M • Politcl Thought Of Leo Strauss

38920 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 630pm-930pm GAR 1.134
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Course Description still being drafted.

GOV 351C • Classical Quest For Justice

38925 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 330pm-500pm UTC 3.134
(also listed as CTI 335 )
show description

Course Description What is justice?  What are its demands as a virtue of individuals?  What is its status as a guiding principle of domestic politics and as a restraint or standard in times of war?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of political orders in their quest for justice or in their pursuit of alternative ends?  What is the relationship between politics and philosophy?  In this course we will consider these fundamental and enduring questions of political philosophy primarily through a careful study of two of the masterpieces of classical antiquity:  Plato’s Republic and Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War.  Although we will supplement our study of these two great texts with a look at other works, such as Plato’s Apology of Socrates, our focus will be on reading and discussing the Republic and The Peloponnesian War.  These works will be approached, not just as crucial documents for our understanding of a distant age, but as works that still speak directly and profoundly to permanent questions of moral and political life.   

 

Texts

Plato and Aristophanes, Four Texts on Socrates, trans. by T. West and G. West (Cornell) Plato, The Republic of Plato, trans. by Allan Bloom (Basic Books)Thucydides, The Landmark Thucydides, ed. By Robert Strassler (The Free Press)

 

Requirements and Grading Paper: 20%First exam: 25%Second exam: 25% Attendance: 10% Participation: 10%Quizzes: 10%(Note:  These percentages are approximate, and the paper may be made optional.)

GOV 382M • Platonic Political Philosophy

38800 • Fall 2010
Meets TH 630pm-930pm GAR 1.134
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DESCRIPTION:

This course will examine the foundations of classical political philosophy through a study of Plato’s political psychology.  Central to Plato’s political psychology—that is, to his account of the deepest human concerns and passions—is his analysis of the nature and power of thumos and eros.  Plato’s emphasis on these forces in the human soul marks a crucial difference between his thought and that of both the preSocratic philosophers of antiquity and the early modern thinkers who shaped the outlook that still prevails in the modern West.  In this seminar, we will study Plato’s analysis of eros by examining the two dialogues he devoted to that theme, the Symposium and the Phaedrus.  If time permits, we will also study Plato’s Alcibiades.  This course aims to develop the capacity of students for concentrated, in-depth study of Plato’s dialogues, which will be approached not just as important moments in the history of political thought but as expressions of a philosophic position that should be examined to see whether it still retains its power and validity.    


GRADING POLICY

Short essays: 20%

Class participation: 20%

Seminar paper: 60%


REQUIRED TEXTS

Plato’s Symposim. Translated by Seth Benardete (University of Chicago Press).

Plato’s Phaedrus. Translated by James Nicholas (Cornell University Press).

The Roots of Political Philosophy: Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues. Edited by Thomas
Pangle (Cornell University Press).

Note:  A reading knowledge of classical Greek would be useful, but it is not required.

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