Phil 114: History of Political Philosophy
TTh 2–3:30pm in 106 Moffitt
Office hours: W 2–4 in 144 Moses Hall, or by appointment
Political science seeks to describe, explain, and predict political phenomena. (Why did Italy and Germany unify when they did? What impact will demographic shifts have on the next presidential election?) These questions must be settled empirically: by consulting history, observing differences between countries, taking polls, and so on. Political philosophy asks different questions, which it is less clear that we can settle empirically. Some of these questions are conceptual. What makes a particular form of human interaction political? Other questions are normative. What sort of government should we have? How should we, as individuals, relate to it?
This course surveys the major works of political philosophy of the 17th–19th centuries, by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau (in the social contract tradition) and by Hume, Bentham, and Mill (in the utilitarian tradition). To provide context and contrast, briefer readings will be drawn from Aristotle; Filmer (a critic of Hobbes in turn criticized by Locke); and Whewell and De Tocqueville (contemporaries of Mill).
The course will be more interpretive than many philosophy classes. Although we may hope to learn something about the questions that interest us, we will be discussing, in the first instance, the questions that interested the authors. Furthermore, our interpretations will have a different focus from courses on the same texts in other departments. There will be greater emphasis on normative foundations than on institutional design, and greater emphasis on the internal logical structure of the arguments than on their author’s rhetoric or immediate political aims. For this reason, some experience with philosophical reasoning is essential.
*** NO LECTURE APRIL 26, MAY 1***
*** OFFICE HOURS CHANGES:
---TUES, APRIL 24 AT 12-2, INSTEAD OF WED, APRIL 25 AT 2-4
---THURS, MAY 3 AT 12-2, INSTEAD OF WED, MAY 2 AT 2-4
1. If you want to re-write the first paper, you have until our last lecture, May 8. Please make sure to submit your original paper along with the re-write.
2. When we get to Mill's "Utilitarianism," you do NOT need to read the whole thing. ONLY chapters 2 and 5.
20. April 24, 2007
19. April 19, 2007
18. April 17, 2007
17. April 12, 2007
16. April 10, 2007
NO LECTURE APRIL 5
15. April 3, 2007
14. March 15 and 20, 2007 -- But please also bring the handout from last time.
13. March 13, 2007
NO CLASS MARCH 8
No new handout for Feb. 20. Please bring the handout for Feb. 15.