10611 Introduction to Political Thought 1

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Political Science

Prerequisites: none

The course is based on a reader of primary sources by major political philosophers, edited by Michael Keren and Aliza Korenstein.

Political philosophy raises questions and offers ideas about historical and contemporary political phenomena, particularly concerning the nature of the state, justifying its existence and identifying a socio-political framework that suits human nature. The course introduces students to the area of political philosophy and to the development of the political idea from ancient times to the present, through an analysis of texts written by political philosophers whose works constitute milestones in the development of the political idea, and through a discussion of the resolutions they offer to various political issues.

Topics:2 Political philosophy in the Bible; Classical philosophy Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; Medieval philosophy St. Augustine, Abu al-Hasan al-Mawardi, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas; Renaissance philosophy Machiavelli; The Reformation Luther; Social contract theory Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau; Conservatism and liberalism Burke, Madison, Hegel, Tocqueville, Mill; The modern era and its critics Marx, Engels, Nietzsche; Twentieth century philosophy Lenin, Kafka, Karl Schmidt, Mussolini, Gandhi, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Fanon, Marcuse, Rawls, Foucault.


1This is a required qualifying course in the MA in Democracy Studies.

2Not all philosophers will be taught each semester.