POLS106-21S2 (D) Semester Two 2021 (Distance)

Plato to Nato: Introduction to Political Thought

15 points

Details:
Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021

Description

What’s the right thing for a group of people to do? How does a society know it is well governed? How do you know you are doing the right thing for your country, or your fellow citizens, or how that will impact on your family and friends? Who matters more, your family or your fellow citizens? The best way to answer these questions has been debated for more than over 2000 years. This course is an introduction to the thinkers that have suggested answers to these questions and influenced everyone from Plato to Trump and you. In this course, you will study the evolution of the ideas that form the building blocks of the political and social sciences. The course traverses the political ideas that arose in the Greek and Roman civilisations, the Renaissance, the birth of America, the death of the English and French despotic monarchies, and the great traumas of socialism, Marxism and the political upheavals that followed the wars of the 20th century. We will trace the changes in the fundamental political concepts such as freedom, equality, rights, justice, government, the state, markets, and domination.

This course is a glorious escapade through the best political theories of Western history. What’s the right thing for a group of people to do? How does a society know it is well governed? How do you know you are doing the right thing for your country, or your fellow citizens, or how that will impact on your family and friends? Who matters more, your family or your fellow citizens? The written record of the arguments about the best way to answer such questions lies in texts written over the last 2500 years. This is an introduction to the thinkers that have answered these questions and influenced everyone from Plato to Biden to Arden, and now, you. In this course, you will study the evolution of the ideas that form the building blocks of the political and social sciences. The course traverses the political ideas that arose in the Greek and Roman civilisations, the Renaissance, the birth of America, the death of the English and French despotic monarchies, and the great traumas of socialism, Marxism and the political upheavals that followed the wars of the 20th century. We will trace the changes in the fundamental political concepts such as freedom, equality, rights, justice, government, the state, markets, and domination. So join me in tracing the continuities and the breaks, in the arguments of political philosophers discussing everything from Greek Hegemony in the Fifth Century BCE to the ‘Pax Americana’, NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in the early Twenty First century.

Course Goals
Academic aims: To foster a detailed critical understanding of a range of arguments in contemporary political philosophy, and the ability to criticise, evaluate, and apply these arguments.

Learning objectives: By the end of the module, students should be able to comprehend and critically analyse complex arguments from contemporary political philosophy, to provide a critical account of them, and to construct and defend their own sustained arguments about major political values.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the intellectual origins of the Western political tradition, beginning with Greek and Roman understandings of human nature, virtue, justice, democracy, law and politics.
  • Explain the origins of Western political thought according to early-to-medieval Christian thinkers, Augustine and Aquinas, on human nature, reason, natural law, virtue and political rule.
  • Explain the political liberal tradition according to Machiavelli, Bodin, Hobbes on human nature, reason, equal freedom, right, and emerging ideas of sovereignty.
  • Explain the liberal tradition according to Locke, Montesquieu, and Mill on consent, liberty and popular sovereignty.
  • Explain the critiques of liberal political thought by Rousseau, Marx, and Harriet Taylor, on human nature, equality, freedom and justice.
  • Explain the debates in modern liberal thought and politics according to Bentham, Mill, Tocqueville, Hayek and Popper on liberty, equality, individuality, consent and coercion, and best forms of government.
  • Demonstrate study skills for academic writing in referencing, building scholarly bibliography, quotes, and producing formal writing.
  • Demonstrate the ability to discuss basic ideas in political theory, reference those ideas to texts, and examine the role they play in contemporary political debates.

Restrictions

Equivalent Courses

Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 17:00 - 18:00 Online Delivery
19 Jul - 29 Aug
13 Sep - 24 Oct

Course Coordinator

Lindsey MacDonald

Assessment

Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Weekly assignment 10% Weekly personal reflections based on the secondary readings for that topic
Essay intro Paragraph introducing your essay's hypothesis and arguments; must be handed in to pass the course.
Essay Proposal 10% (1) Your intended argument (200-300 words) & bibliography uploaded to Learn by end of the Week 4 & (2) a discussion with lecturer about the proposal after uploading proposal in Learn
Test 26 Aug 2021 20% Online end of term 3 uploaded after class Thursday 26 August
Test 21 Oct 2021 20% Online end of term 4 uploaded after class Thursday 21 Oct
Essay 05 Nov 2021 40% 1500-2000 words

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Morrow, John , Morrow, John,Ph. D; History of western political thought : a thematic introduction; 2nd ed; Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Also recommended:

Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, 2002.
Dryzek, John, Bonnie Honig, and Anne Phillips, eds. 2006. The Oxford Handbook of
Political Theory. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Goodin, Robert E., and Phillip Pettit, eds. 2006. Contemporary Political Philosophy: An
Anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Wolff, Jonathan. 2006. An Introduction to Political Philosophy. Oxford, UK: Oxford
University Press.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $785.00

International fee $3,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All POLS106 Occurrences

  • POLS106-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021
  • POLS106-21S2 (D) Semester Two 2021 (Distance)