Course Details

POSC 350: "A Savage Made to Inhabit Cities": The Political Philosophy of Rousseau

Cross-listed with Political Science 260. In this course we will study what Rousseau considered his greatest and best book: Emile. Emile is a philosophic novel. It uses a thought experiment–the rearing of a child from infancy to adulthood–to explore human nature and the human condition, including their political dimensions. Among Emile‘s themes are natural goodness and the origins of evil; self-love and sociability; the differences and relations between the sexes; citizenship; and the principles of political right. The book also addresses the question of how one might live naturally and happily amid an unnatural and unhappy civilization.
6 credits; HI; Not offered 2021-2022

POSC 350: Kings, Tyrants, Philosophers: Plato's Republic*

Cross-listed with Political Science 250. In this course we will read Plato’s Republic, perhaps the greatest and surely the most important work of political philosophy ever written. What are the deepest needs and the most powerful longings of human nature? Can they be fulfilled, and, if so, how? What are the deepest needs of society, and can they be fulfilled? What is the relation between individual happiness and societal well-being? Are they compatible or in conflict with one another? And where they are in conflict, what does justice require that we do? The Republic explores these questions in an imaginative and unforgettable way.
6 credits; HI; Offered Winter 2022; L. Cooper

POSC 350: Political Philosophy and the Book of Genesis*

Cross-listed with Political Science 270. Much of the moral and political architecture of the post-modern, secular world traces back to pre-modern, religious scriptures--especially Genesis, the first book of the Bible. For this reason alone Genesis deserves attention. But there are even stronger reasons: With its accounts of creation, humanity’s relation to nature and the divine, human aspiration and failure, the origins of community, and the good life for both individuals and societies, Genesis offers enormous riches even for those who approach it from an "external" philosophic standpoint (as we will in this class) rather than an "internal" religious one. Readings include Genesis and commentary.
6 credits; HI; Not offered 2021-2022