Modern Political Philosophy (5 cr)
- 2013-01-09 - 2013-03-13
- Wed. 15-18
- Room 20.287, Jaume I Building, Campus Ciutadella, Fac. Filosofia, UPF.
This course examines the continuing relevance of some of the greatest or most influential figures in the history of modern political philosophy. To do so, it examines the answers their work suggests to various central questions that arise in reflecting on political life.
More specifically, we shall consider some of the main ideas of the following four historical authors: Thomas Hobbes; John Locke; Karl Marx; and John Stuart Mill. We shall also examine work by some contemporary analytic philosophers that is inspired by, or related to, these historical precursors.
The questions we shall address will include the following.
(1) Do we need a state, and, if so, why?
(2) Under which conditions, if any, do we have a moral duty to obey a government’s commands,
(3) Under which conditions, if any, do we have a moral right to overthrow an illegitimate government?
(4) Do individuals possess rights that the state has a moral duty to respect and protect?
(5) How, if at all, can toleration be justified?
(6) What’s wrong with paternalism?
(7) What’s so good about democracy?
(8) Can private property be justified? If so, how should it be distributed? If not, why not?
(9) How do capitalism, socialism, and communism differ? Are there good reasons to favour one system over another?
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (ed. Richard Tuck)
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (ed. Peter Laslett)
J. Elster (ed.), Karl Marx: A Reader
J. S. Mill, On Liberty and Other Essays (ed. John Gray)
Other versions of many of these texts are available at many internet sites, including http://www.class.uidaho.edu/mickelsen/readings.htm
Jonathan Bennett, a distinguished scholar working on early modern philosophy, has also produced less archaic versions of several texts, which are available at this site: http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/index.html