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ITB 227E - Political Theory

Course Objectives

1. To introduce the field of political theory and contemporary political debates to
students and to lead critical and philosophical discussion on the relationship
between politics and humans.
2. To identify and express, both orally and in writing, the foundational issues in
political theory.
3. To expand their skill to critically evaluate arguments in political philosophy, both
orally and in writing, by using philosophical methods developed by political

Course Description

This course will introduce students to some of the most important questions of political theory. Topics discussed will include: Do we need a state, and if so, why? Do we have a duty to obey the state's laws? Is it important that the state be organized democratically? What limits, if any, should be placed on individual freedom? What does justice require for the distribution of property, income and wealth – for instance, does it require an equal shares or are sizeable departures from equality justified? We will look at how some of the great minds in the history of political philosophy – such as Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, Rawls and Nozick – have responded to these questions, and we will critically consider the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments. The course will encourage students to think clearly about the relationships they have, qua citizen, to each other, and to develop their critical and analytical skills in the process.

Course Coordinator
Jan Kandiyali
Course Language
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