Political Science 663:

Political Thought Since the Sixteenth Century

Dr. Laurie M. Johnson
Office: Waters 243
Phone: 532-0441 E-Mail: lauriej@ksu.edu
Office Hours: Mondays, 10-12, T/Th 8 9:15, and by appointment.

This course will explore the thought of four political thinkers. Because we will refer often to passages from their works, bring your book to class, having already read the assigned material for the day. We will discuss the meaning of the text and the political and moral questions that are raised by it. Because of its importance in a course such as this, discussion will be considered when formulating your grade. Suggestions for secondary, interpretive materials are given below the required readings. Extra requirements will apply to graduate students.

Required Texts:

Modern Political Thought: Readings From Machiavelli to Nietzsche , edited by David Wooton, Hackett Publishing Company, 1996.

History of Political Philosophy , edited by Strauss and Cropsey, University of Chicago Press , 1996.


Midterm: 100 pts.
Final: 120 pts.
Paper: 100 pts.
Participation: 80 pts.*

*Participation refers not only to the quantity but to the quality of participation in class, defined as being on-topic and helpful to furthering the discussion and encouraging the meaningful participation of your fellow-students.  



1.  Introduction

Suggested Readings :

Strauss, Leo, "What is Political Philosophy?" in What is Political Philosophy and Other Studies . University of Chicago Press , 1959, pp.9-55.


2. Thomas Hobbes: Birth of the Liberal Idea

Hobbes, Leviathan :

Introduction, Part 1, Chapters 1-6, 12-15; Part 2, entire, Part 3, Chapters 32, 34, 37, 38, 43; Review and Conclusion.

Laurence Berns, "Hobbes," in Strauss-Cropsey.

Suggested Readings :

Mary Dietz, editor, Thomas Hobbes and Political Theory, University of Kansas Press , 1990.

David Gauthier, The Logic of Leviathan: The Moral and Political Theory of Thomas Hobbes, Oxford , 1969.

Laurie M. Johnson Bagby, Hobbes's Leviathan, London : Continuum Press, 2007.

Quentin Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes, Cambridge University Press, 1996.


3. John Locke: Political Liberalism

Locke, Second Treatise of Government, entire.

Robert Goldwin, "John Locke," in Strauss-Cropsey.

Suggested Readings :

Patrick Coby (1987) "The Law of Nature in Locke's Second Treatise: Is Locke a Hobbesian?" The Review of Politics Vol. 49:1, 3-28.

*C.B. Macpherson (1962) The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke.

Leo Strauss (1953) Natural Right and History , esp. 165-251 on Hobbes and Locke.

Nathan Tarcov (1981) "Locke's Second Treatise and 'The Best Fence Against Rebellion," The Review of Politics , Vol. 43:2, 198-217.

4.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Participatory Democracy as a Rejection of Liberalism

Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and On the Social Contract

Discourse on the Origin and Foundation of Inequality Among Men, entire.

On the Social Contract , I, entire; II, 1-10; III, entire, IV, entire.

Allan Bloom, "Jean-Jacques Rousseau," in Strauss-Cropsey.

Suggested Readings :

Allan Bloom (1987) "Rousseau," in History of Political Philosophy Third Edition. (Strauss and Cropsey eds.) Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

*Asher Horowitz (1987) Rousseau, Nature and History . Toronto : University of Toronto Press, esp. pp. 67-85.

Judith Shklar (1969) Men and Citizens . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Leo Strauss, "On the Intention of Rousseau," in Hobbes and Rousseau , ed. Maurice Cranston and Richard S. Peters, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Anchor Books: 254-290.

5.  J.S. Mill: a Utilitarian Argument for Liberty and Equality

Mill, On the Subjection of Women , entire.

Henry Magid, "John Stuart Mill," in Strauss-Cropsey.

Suggested Readings :

Clark Bouton (1965) "John Stewart Mill: On Liberty and History." Western Political Quarterly , Vol. 18, No. 3: 569-578.

J.S. Mill and H. Taylor (1970) Essays on Sex Equality . Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

Mary Lyndon Shanley (1981) "Marital Slavery and Friendship: John Stuart Mill's 'The Subjection of Women," Political Theory , Vol. 9, No.2: 229-247.



This course will adhere to/enforce all rules in KSU's student honor code.

Copyright as to this syllabus and all lectures, 2013.