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Politics Graduate Courses

There are two "levels" of Graduate Politics courses; in the first level, wherein the courses are numbered 5301-5310, the courses are available to undergraduate and graduate students alike (although graduate students are assigned additional and more complicated work). Graduate students alone are able to take courses numbered 6000 or above (exceptional senior undergraduate students, however, are able to take these courses with the permission of the Chair of the Politics Department). Consult both the Politics and the Institute of Philosophic Studies sections for a description of the courses.

6335. Kant to the Present.
A reading of leading philosophers after Rousseau, concentrating on political and moral philosophy. Works are typically selected from Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Leo Strauss, and Richard Rorty. The main theme is the philosophical abandonment of human nature as a guide to political and moral life, and its replacement by reason, history, or nothing.

6372. Plato's Republic.

The implications of the form in which the seminal book in Western political philosophy is written will be considered; the political and philosophic alternatives rejected by Socratic-Platonic teaching will also be discussed.

6376. Aristotle's Ethics.

The ethical basis of political life investigated through a study of the Nicomachean Ethics

6377. Special Studies Courses.

Offered according to student interest and faculty availability.

The American Founding.
The political theory of the American founding will be investigated through a reading of primary sources, concentrating on constitutions, state papers, formal declarations, and other documents written or endorsed by elected officials. We will lay bare the main lines of argument about equality, natural rights, and natural law on which the American founders broadly agreed. The implications of these doctrines for politics, morals, religion, and the way of life of the community are also considered. The intention is to show that for all their passionate disagreements, the founding generation shared a coherent and philosophically defensible approach to politics.

Students will attempt to understand Cicero's political philosophy through a careful reading of the Republic, the Laws, the Offices, and the Ends.

Federalist Papers.

Students will read important Anti-Federalist and Federalist writers, and then proceed in a careful reading of the Federalist itself. Course will focus on the historic debates as well as their modern implications, including representation, administration, and the role of the three branches of government.

The Spirit of the Laws. Sometimes taught in conjunction with David Hume's Essays, Moral, Political and Literary.

Plutarch's Lives.

A close reading of Plutarch's Lives.

The Progressives.

Students will study the political philosophy of American Progressivism, focusing on the writings of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Hebert Croly. They will also trace the roots of Progressivism back to its Hegelian origins.

6381. Machiavelli.

The thought of this seminal thinker of modernity investigated through a reading of the Discourses of Livy. Other works, especially The Prince are consulted to establish the broader context of Machiavelli's political teaching.

6384. Hobbes.

The founding of modern political science was accomplished by Hobbes. The Leviathan and On the Citizen will be read. The connection between modern science and political science will receive attention.

6387. Locke.

The political philosophy of John Locke, including the Two Treatises of Government and the Essays on the Law of Nature. Locke's criticism and reinterpretation of traditional natural law, and the importance of his teaching for understanding modern liberal regimes, are examined.

6388. Rousseau.

The first thoroughgoing critique of modernity was made by Rousseau, giving a new direction to philosophical thought. Texts: the Emile, the First and Second Discourses, and The Social Contract.

7351. Directed Readings & Research.

Special programs of inquiry, by mutual consent of student and professor with the approval of the Chairman.

7371. Xenophon.

The Memorabilia Oeconomicus, the Hiero, and Cyropaedia. The work of Xenophon as essential for the understanding of Socrates' teaching.

7373. Plato's Laws.

The purpose of this course is to read carefully Plato's most political book, in fact his only political book, because in it a city is to be founded in deed, unlike the Republic, which is a city founded only in speech.

7374. Dialogues of Plato.

To be selected by the instructor.

7376. Aristotle's Politics.

A study of Aristotle's Politics as an introduction to the classical understanding of man and society. Emphasis on the dialogical or tentative character of Aristotelian teaching.

7377. Herodotus.

Herodotus of Helicarnassus is often considered the first historian. His History, however, is as much geography, an anthropology, a collection of poetic images, and a work of political philosophy. In writing the story of the war between the Greeks and the barbarians, Herodotus explores the differing ways of life, the nomoi, of the major civilizations of the ancient world, and he inquires (historia means inquiry in classical Greek) into the relationships among a people's conceptions of the divine, of physical nature, of human nature, and their customs and laws. Students will read Herodotus' History with a focus on the differing understandings of the divine and of the relationship between god and man as expressed in the story-images he gives for each of the different peoples.

7380. Medieval Political Philosophy.

The confrontation of Greek Philosophy with the revealed religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) posed the need for a new expression of the classical teaching. Authors: Thomas Aquinas, Avicenna, Maimonides, and Alfarabi.

7388. American Regime.

A study of the principles and structure of the American political order.

7394. Nietzsche.

Nietzsche's mature thought studied through a reading of Beyond Good and Evil and the third part of Genealogy of Morals. Nietzsche's relation to his historicist precursors and existentialists successors emphasized.

8385. Spinoza.

The political writings of Spinoza, including the Theologico-Political Treatise and the Political Treatise. The relation of politics and religion is discussed, as well as the grounds for the first philosophic recommendation of free speech and democracy.

8396. Shakespeare Seminar.

Shakespeare's understanding of politics and the question of the relationship between poetry, philosophy, and political thought. Does Shakespeare present a history of Western civilization from Athens to England?

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