This course is an opportunity to read, or to re-read, the most significant political statements of three foundational figures in the Western political tradition, paying due attention to both historical context and philosophical argument. It also aims to stimulate reflection on key elements of the modern political lexicon (e.g. politics, democracy, republic, justice, citizenship) by engaging with their Greek and Latin origins. Of particular interest will be conceptualizations of and relationships between a) the good (to agathon), the just (to dikaion), the common (koinon), and the advantageous (to sympheron), and b) the honorable (honestas) and the useful (utilitas).
The course is primarily aimed at graduate students preparing for the Political Theory comprehensive exam, but qualified, advanced undergraduates majoring in Political Science, Classics, Philosophy or related fields are also very welcome to enroll with permission of the instructor. Please apply by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Attach your transcript and a writing sample and be prepared for a 15-minute zoom interview. Auditors are also very welcome, although in order to secure a large enough classroom, I’d appreciate it if those who can enroll Sat/Unsat could do so.
1. Ps-Xenophon, “Constitution of the Athenians”
Plato, Apology (both provided on bCourses)
2. Plato, Republic I-V (Loeb ed., trans. Emlyn-Jones and Preddy)
3. Plato, Republic VI-X
4. Plato, Statesman (Loeb ed.)
5. Plato, Laws I-VI (Loeb ed., trans. Bury)
6. Plato, Laws VII-XII
7. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I-V (Loeb ed., trans. Rackham)
8. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics VI-X
9. Aristotle, Politics I-IV (Loeb ed., trans. Rackham)
Ps-Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians (Penguin ed. by Peter Rhodes)
10. Aristotle, Politics V-VIII
11. Aristotle, Rhetoric Book I (Loeb ed., trans. Freese)
12. Cicero, De Re Publica (Loeb ed., trans. Keyes)
Additional reading: Polybius, History Book VI (Loeb)
13. Cicero, De Legibus (Loeb ed., trans. Keyes)
14. Cicero, De Officiis (Loeb ed., trans. Miller)
Meeting on 1/28 will be in SOCS749.
Requirements for Satisfactory enrolment are a weekly 200-word (max) forum post reflecting on the readings and class engagement. Requirements for a letter grade are the same, plus 20-25 pages of writing in the form of either two short papers or one longer one. All writing options will be pursued under the close and enthusiastic supervision of the instructor.