Winter 2009 POLS 230 Syllabus

Winter 2009 POLS 230 Syllabus - Cal Poly Winter 2009 POLS...

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Cal Poly – Winter 2009 POLS 230 — 1 BASIC CONCEPTS OF POLITICAL THOUGHT (POLS 230-01) Winter 2009 – MW 10:10 am – 12:00 pm (186-C203) Matthew J. Moore Office: Bldg. 47, Rm. 11Q [email protected] Office Hours: T/R 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. 805-756-2895 or by appointment Political theory is the attempt to systematically explain how politics works and how politics should work . On the one hand, it is helpful to have clear empirical explanations of how, for example, Congress passes laws, or the European Union sets policy. On the other hand, we often want to make normative judgments about politics—that is, we often want to say that some law or policy is right or wrong. (And we usually then want to go on to say how we would do things differently and better!) We’ll read influential texts from a handful of important political thinkers as an introduction to the ideas and style of normative political theory. “…it would seem that anarchism is the only political doctrine consistent with the virtue of autonomy…” Robert Paul Wolff “… civil government is the proper remedy for the inconveniencies of the state of nature…” John Locke “A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views.” Edmund Burke “The most excellent good and the utmost perfection is… attained in a city…” Abu-Nasr Al-Farabi “He is the Subject, he is the Absolute—she is the Other” Simone de Beauvoir “What is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorized by the natural law?” Jean-Jacques Rousseau “What if …. morality itself were to blame if man, as species, never reached his highest potential power and splendour ?” Friedrich Nietzsche “Civilized man has exchanged a portion of his possibilities for happiness for a portion of security” Sigmund Freud
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Cal Poly — Winter 2008 POLS 230 — 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Course Goals, Objectives and Methods 2. Books for Purchase 3. Required Reading(s) on Blackboard Page 4. Week-by-Week Assignments 5. Requirements for Papers 6. Course Policies 7. Study Questions and Background Information NB: The pamphlet Suggestions for Writing Papers (see section 2 below for availability) is a required appendix to this syllabus, and you should read it carefully. It contains additional rules and requirements 1. COURSE GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND METHODS Goals The Short Version: For you to get an introduction to political theory. The Long Version: This course has four related goals: (a) for you to acquire a basic knowledge of political theory; (b) for you to have an opportunity to practice various academic skills (close reading, critical analysis, expository writing, etc.); (c) for you to get feedback about how those academic skills compare to college-level expectations, and for you to get suggestions about how to improve those skills; (d) for me, the Political Science department, and the university as a whole to have a chance to evaluate your progress towards meeting the learning goals appropriate for graduation. University and Department Learning Objectives
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Winter 2009 POLS 230 Syllabus - Cal Poly Winter 2009 POLS...

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