Introduction to Political Theory (Pol s 201) June 1, 2009



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Introduction to Political Theory (Pol S 201)

June 1, 2009


Preparing for the Final Exam (Monday, June 8, 8:30-10:20)
The final exam will be given in lecture hall, on Monday, June 8, at 8:30 am. You will have till 10:20 to complete the exam. Please bring exam books. This is a closed-book exam: books or notes may not be consulted during the exam.
You will be asked to write two essays (each worth 40%) and identify and discuss two quotations (20%). You will have a choice of questions.
Essays: The essays will test your knowledge of all the authors studied in the course: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, and Singer.
Identifications: You will be asked to identify and explain two quoted passages. For each quote, you are asked to (1) identify the author and work, (2) describe the context of the quote, and (3) explain how it fits into the larger argument presented in the text. Partial credit is available if you identify the quote incorrectly but give a plausible explanation for your answer. (Advice: you should complete this part of the exam quickly and leave most of your time by far for the essays.)
Here is an example.
“[When] men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal … there is … continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Answer: Hobbes, Leviathan. This is Hobbes’ dark vision of the state of nature. In the Leviathan, he argues that human nature condemns us to a state of war when there is no effective government. The only solution, in his view, is a social contract establishing an absolute sovereign.
To prepare for the exam:
Study your lecture notes and reading notes. Re-read your essays. To the extent possible, re-read the assignments. ****Make sure that you can summarize the main argument of each theorist. ****Sketch out answers to the study questions. ****Study groups are highly recommended.
Study questions:
How do Locke, Rousseau, and Mill each contribute to our understanding of the purpose and value of democracy?
What traits define a good citizen, according to Rousseau’s Social Contract, on the one hand, and Mill’s On Liberty on the other? How does Marx respond to each of these accounts? Which theorist – Rousseau, Mill, or Marx – offers the best theory of citizenship?
Compare how Locke, Rousseau (Discourse on Inequality), and Marx each assess the function and value of private property. How, according to each theorist, does private property arise and why? What are its effects on individuals and on society? Is it good for us, or bad for us?
Compare how Rousseau and Mill discuss the question of religious toleration. (To answer this question, make sure that you study the chapter on “Civil Religion” in Rousseau’s Social Contract.)

What are the sources of conflict, according to Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx? How is conflict best avoided, according to each of these theorists?


How do Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill and Marx each understand the meaning and value of freedom? What social/political arrangements does each theorist identify as a denial of freedom? What social/political arrangements does each theorist believe will best promote human freedom?
How do Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx each view the concept of individual rights? According to each theorist, what is the meaning, value, and source of individual rights?
What theory of human nature is offered by each of our theorists? How do contrasting conceptions of human nature lead to contrasting theories of conflict, peace, social justice, and legitimate government?
Why is global climate change a problem of justice as well as an environmental problem? What, according to Singer, is the just solution to the problem of global climate change? What principles does he use to reach his conclusion?
Please discuss how Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx would each analyze the problem of global climate change? How would each of these theorists explain the cause of, and solution to, this problem?
Why, according to Singer, does the World Trade Organization (WTO) pose a potential threat to democracy and justice? Is he persuasive? Why or why not? How would Locke on the one hand and Marx on the other explain and evaluate the role of the WTO?
Singer argues that the traditional “Westphalian” system of sovereign nation states is unjust. What are his arguments? What are the arguments on the other side? What would a just world order be, in your view?
What global political order should govern an increasingly interdependent planet? How would Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx each tackle this question? Do they provide helpful guidance? Why or why not? (You may answer this question differently for each theorist.)





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