Thursdays, 10:15 AM – 1:15 PM
(Approved Wharton requirement sector: Social Sciences and Cross-Cultural Perspective)
In general, the course proceeds by elucidating major distinctions, such as: ancient vs. modern; deontology vs. consequentialism; “Athens” vs. “Jerusalem” (or: reason vs. revelation); thinking vs. knowing; liberalism vs. democracy; sovereign power vs. disciplinary power; being secular vs. being a secularist; politics as subset of morality vs. political responsibility as requiring the transgression of morality; the grounds of legitimate authority (tradition vs. legal-rational vs. charisma); etc. Overall, the course has three goals: (i) to introduce students to alternate approaches to the practice of political theory; (ii) to introduce students to numerous relatively self-contained debates important to contemporary political theorists; and (iii) to address major figures from the history of political thought, with an eye toward explaining what makes them vital to political theorists today.
Grades will be earned on the basis of three 7-page (double-spaced) papers on each third of the class (30% each) and class participation (10%). The course TA/grader, Miranda Sklaroff, will be the primary evaluator of students’ written work.