PLS 212 Introduction to Political Theory Syllabus

PLS 212 Introduction to Political Theory Syllabus -...

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Introduction to Political Theory Political Science 212 Monday and Wednesday 2:00-3:15 Deloach Hall 212 Course Description: Political Science 212 is an introduction to the critical thinkers and concepts of political theory from the ancient Greeks to Post-Industrial Revolution Europe. By investigating the foundations of western political thought, we will outline the key ideas that have shaped political debate from antiquity to the present day. Political theory concerns more than just matters of distributive justice or individual rights, it comprises the very activity of human existence. Aristotle argued that “Man is by nature a political animal [ zoon politikon ].” By this, he meant that ultimately everything about human beings is fundamentally political. Our very identities and conditions of social existence are based in politics and choices that are meaningfully political. As a result, the class readings will require you to critically think about issues not necessarily considered political by most moderns, including liberty, human nature, property, virtue, the common good, social contracts and revolutions. The texts we read are not simple; even in modern translations, care must be taken to attend to both what is written and the broader theoretical and political issues, but by engaging with them you will gain a broader understanding of politics and its development to its modern form. Students in America often approach politics with a belief that politics is a distant, uninteresting topic with little connection to day-to-day life. Nothing could be more opposed to the ideas of these political theorists. Despite the years since their death, they offer a compelling and controversial vision of the integrality of politics and human nature. One that is still studied today, both by scholars and by people who simply want to better understand how we should conduct ourselves as individuals, family members, citizens of a city, state, a county, or a planet. By engaging in the practice of political theory – the critical evaluation of these texts and the concepts contained therein attentive to both cultural context and lasting theoretical importance – a new understanding of politics, and therefore human life, can be gained.
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2012 for the course PLS 212 taught by Professor Sheridan during the Spring '08 term at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

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PLS 212 Introduction to Political Theory Syllabus -...

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