The topic examines, compares and evaluates some of the classic texts of political philosophy. Texts studied will be selected from the work of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, and Mill. Themes include human nature, freedom, equality, moral judgement, and the role of the state.
This topic aims to introduce students to classic political-philosophical texts dealing with the essential features and purposes of politics and government. We discuss the standards or norms which political philosophers have argued should guide the governments, subjects and citizens of states, along with related topics. These topics include controversies about human nature, justice, democratic government, freedom, authority, the relations between the individual and the community, rights and duties, law, the character of political knowledge, and the origins of government. There will be opportunities to examine, compare and evaluate some of the most influential texts of Western political philosophy, and attention will be paid to the intentions of their authors and the historical background to their work.