Political Science 160-Introduction to Political Theory

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Political Science 160—Introduction to Political Theory

Fall 2003

Marek Steedman Office phone: x7170

Office: 408 Willis Hall E-mail: msteedma@carleton.edu

Office Hours: T 3-5pm, Th 10-12am, & by appt. Home phone: x7419 (See Below)

When: MW 1:50-3pm, F 2:20-3:20pm.

Where: Willis 203

The course is designed to introduce you to some central concepts in political theory as well as some of the ways that political theorists approach the study of politics. It is also a ‘sort of survey’ of some of the texts political theorists think, chat, and fight with.
The hope is to annoy and unsettle you a bit, by examining our assumptions about what it means to be free, what it means to be human, and how these assumptions are related to the way we think about what politics is, can, and should be. The goal isn’t to change your mind about anything, but rather to force you to think more carefully about these issues than perhaps you have had the opportunity to before.
Contacting Me Outside Class
You should feel very free to come to office hours to talk about the course. I will also be in my office a fair amount – you’ll generally find my door open if I’m there. I would ask that you please don’t stop by the office on Thursday afternoons, unless the matter is urgent. Email is a very good way to get in contact with me and ask questions. If you call me at home, please do not do so after 10:30pm.
The course will be a mix of lecture and discussion – but with the emphasis squarely on discussion. For this to work, you must have read the assigned text with some care before coming to class. I will provide background information and starting places for discussion, where necessary, but you should be prepared with your own thoughts and reactions (however provisional).
The following books have been ordered and should be at the Bookstore. The books are on reserve at the Library, but if at all possible you should come to class with texts in hand—we’ll be referring to them constantly.
Plato, Four Texts on Socrates (Cornell University)

Aristotle, The Politics (University of Chicago)

Machiavelli, The Prince (University of Chicago)

Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett)

Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge)

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

Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (Hackett)

The Marx-Engels Reader (Norton)
I will also make copies of Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha available in class.
Participation: Participation accounts for 15% of your total grade. Being an active participant involves asking questions and talking, but also listening and responding, in a respectful way, to others. I do not expect you to have fully thought out, perfectly coherent things to say. The class is for puzzling over issues and trying different approaches out. What I do expect is that you have done the reading (a minimum) and that you come to class with some questions, problems or observations about that reading. It is important that note, however, that you are not being graded on the frequency of your participation alone, but also the quality of your contribution to the class discussion.

Writing Assignments: There will be three separate writing assignments.

  1. Short paper (3-4pp.). This assignment will ask you to closely analyze a relatively concise passage, or set of passages, from a single text.

  2. Final Paper (7-9pp). For the final paper I will ask you to choose from a selection of paper topics – the paper will require you to answer a specific question by comparing and analyzing two or three of the authors we have read this term.

Both papers should be typed, double-spaced in a 12-point font, and carefully edited and proofread. Topics for the papers will be distributed in class. The essay should be very attentive to the texts and problems you are asked to address. References to secondary sources (those not on the syllabus) are neither necessary nor desirable in either of the papers, but if you do use them the following is a useful definition of plagiarism:

“plagiarism: submitting a piece of work which in part or in whole is not entirely the student’s own work without attributing those same portions to their correct source.” (University of Michigan, LS&A Bulletin, Chapter IV, http://www.lsa.umich.edu/lsa/cg/bulletin/chap4/conduct/, accessed September 10, 2003).
If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism, or about other aspects of academic integrity, please ask! A useful resource is “Academic Honesty at Carleton” on the Dean of the College’s website: (http://webapps.acs.carleton.edu/campus/doc/information_students/academichonesty/).

We will talk more about this.

  1. In-class writing. Five times during the course of the term I will ask you to respond briefly to a question concerning the reading for that day. Your grade will be determined on the basis of your four highest scoring responses. The question may be distributed at the beginning or end of that day’s class time.

Participation 15%

Responses 20%

Short Paper 30%

Final Paper 35%


Week 1

Mon. 9/15 Introduction

Wed. 9/17 Plato, Apology (in Four Texts on Socrates).

Fri. 9/19 Plato, Crito (in Four Texts on Socrates).

Week 2

Mon. 9/22 Aristotle, The Politics, Book I.

Wed. 9/24 Aristotle, The Politics, Book II, chapters 1-5; Book III, chapters 1-13.

Fri 9/26 Aristotle, The Politics, Book IV, chapter 2; Book V, chapters 1-11.

Week 3

Mon. 9/29 Aristotle, The Politics, Book VII.

Wed. 10/1 Machiavelli, The Prince, Dedicatory Letter, chapters I-XI.

Fri. 10/3 Machiavelli, The Prince, chapters XII-XIX.

Week 4

Mon. 10/6 Machiavelli, The Prince, chapters XX-XXVI.

Short Paper Due in Class

Wed. 10/8 Hobbes, Leviathan, Letter Dedicatory; The Introduction; Part I, chapters i-ix.

Fri. 10/10 Hobbes, Leviathan, Part I, chapters x-xvi.

Week 5

Mon. 10/13 Hobbes, Leviathan, Part II, chapters xvii-xxi, and xxix.

Wed. 10/15 Filmer, Patriarcha.

Fri. 10/17 Locke, First Treatise of Government, chapters I-VI.

Week 6

Mon. 10/10 Midterm Break

Wed. 10/22 Locke, Second Treatise of Government, preface, chapters I-V.

Fri. 10/24 Locke, Second Treatise of Government, chapters VI-VIII.

Week 7

Mon. 10/27 Locke, Second Treatise of Government, chapters IX-XI, XIV and XIX.

Wed. 10/29 Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality, dedicatory letter, preface, first part.

Fri. 10/31 Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality, second part.

Week 8

Mon. 11/3 Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, pp. 3-79.

Wed. 11/5 Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, pp. 79-144.

Fri. 11/ 7 Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, pp. 144-218.

Week 9

Mon. 11/10 Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach,” (pp. 143-45), “The German Ideology, Part 1,” pp. 147-163.

Wed. 11/12 Marx, “The German Ideology, Part 1,” pp. 193-200.

Fri. 11/14 No class

Week 10

Mon. 11/17 Marx, Capital, Part II, chapter IV and X (pp. 329-336 and 361-376).

Wed. 11/19 Conclusion

Final Paper Due in Class

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