Social & Political Philosophy Philosophy 33, Spring 2011

New instructor

I won’t be teaching this course in spring 2011. I’m going to take a term of family leave to help my son. Thanks to the generosity of the College, I can do this. Needless to say, I’m extremely grateful.

While I won’t be teaching it, the course will still be offered as scheduled. We’re very fortunate that Professor Chris Naticchia agreed to do it. I think you’ll have a great experience together.

—mjg October 26, 2010

Course Description

Political philosophy is about the nature of the state. It tries to answer questions such as these. “Should we have a state at all?” “What is a just state or society like?” “What powers does the state have?” “Should individuals obey the state?” The course will cover some of the historically prominent answers that combine theories of human nature, ethics, and social life. The syllabus seeks to chart a path between a survey of different philosopher’s views and specialized study of any one of them. We will give thorough attention to the central issues with each philosopher’s political thought.

The materials make heavy demands on their readers’ analytical and interpretive skills. Our discussions and writing assignments will focus on the arguments in these works. That is where your analytical skills will come into play. Since we are reading works from different periods in history, we will also have to work hard at interpreting material that is written in ways that are unfamiliar and that reflects the concerns of different kinds of societies.

If you think you might be interested in this course, you might want to look at the web site for last year’s version. It includes the syllabus, assignments, and notes on every class session.

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Social & Political Philosophy