Dr. Laurie M. Bagby

Waters 220

785-532-0441 / lauriej@ksu.edu

Polsc. 821: Seminar in Political Thought

This course is a graduate introduction to political thought. It will give you the framework and some of the tools to understand references to political thought and particular philosophers in the literature of political science. It will also give you resources to help you understand theories in the other sub-disciplines of Political Science. To this end, we will examine both original works and contemporary commentators on the history of political thought and social science. Students should come prepared to discuss the readings assigned for the week. Most reading and discussion will be in common, but students will be asked to lead the discussion of a selected book (from those under "suggested books" categories in each section) once during the semester for approximately a 30 minute period (see "Presentation Requirement" handout). Students are strongly encouraged to select the book they will review early in the semester and acquire that book. Some will be available in the library, but others may need to be ordered through inter-library loan.


Midterm: 25%; Final: 30%; Presentation/Class Discussion: 20%; Paper: 25%

The final course grade may be affected by attendance problems and/or exceptional class participation. Also, see plagiarism policy and related reading referred to in unit 1.

Required Texts

Bagby, Readings: Polsc. 821--a packet available at copy services on the bottom floor of Eisenhower Hall.

Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, Hackett Publishing Company.

Hobbes, Man and Citizen, Hackett

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 3rd ed., 1996.

Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life, Hackett Publishing Company.

Plato, The Republic, Hackett.

Strauss, Leo, Natural Right and History, University of Chicago Press, 1999 .



1. The Birth of Philosophy: Ancient Political Philosophy

a. Plato, Republic, entire, as assigned.  

"The Use of Source Materials." From Bagby or Political Science website.

Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, Ch. 3: The Origin of the Idea of Natural Right; Ch. 4: Classical Natural Right.

Suggested Books:

Natalie Bluestone. Women and the Ideal Society: Plato's Republic and Modern Myths of Gender, University of Mass. Press, 1998.

Joseph Cropsey. Plato's world : man's place in the cosmos. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Richard Kraut, Socrates and the State, Princeton University Press, 1984.

Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, any edition.

Richard E. Rubenstein, Aristotle's Children, Harcourt, 2003.

2. Modern Natural Right: Hobbes

Hobbes, Man and Citizen (Hackett), "Introduction," by Gert, and chapters 1-10, 12, 15, 18 in The Citizen.

Strauss, Natural Right and History, Ch. 5: Modern Natural Right.

Suggested Books:

Laurie M. Johnson (Bagby), Thucydides, Hobbes and the Interpretation of Realism, Northern Illinois University Press, 1993.

Laurie M. Bagby, Hobbes's Leviathan: A Reader's Guide, Continuum, 2006.

Michael Doyle, Ways of War and Peace, Norton, 1997, Part I: Realism.

David Gauthier, The Logic of Leviathan, Oxford University Press, 1969.

David Johnston, The Rhetoric of Leviathan, Princeton University Press, 1986.

C.B. Macpherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism, Oxford University Press, 1962.

A.P. Martinich, The Two Gods of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on Religion and Politics, Cambridge University Press, 1992.

3. The Conservative Response to Natural Right

Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (Hackett), "Introduction," by Pocock, and pages 3-151 in Reflections.

Strauss, Natural Right and History, Ch. 6: The Crisis of Modern Natural Right.

Suggested Books About Burke:

Stephen Graubard. Burke, Disraeli and Churchill; the politics of perseverance. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1961.

Russell Kirk. Edmund Burke : a genius reconsidered. Wilmington, Del. : Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 1997.

Peter J. Stanlis. Edmund Burke and the Natural Law, Transaction Publishers, 2003.

Whelan, Frederick, Edmund Burke and India, University of Pittsburg Press, 1996.

4. Nietzsche, Historicism and the Effects of Relativism

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life, entire, as assigned.

Suggested Books:

Samuel Huntington, Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity, Simon and Schuster, 2004.

Robert Kagan, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, Knopf, 2003.

Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, Random House, 2003.

Peter Levine, Nietzsche and the Modern Crisis of the Humanities. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

Catherine Zuckert, Post-Modern Platos: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer, Strauss, Derrida, University of Chicago Press, 1996.

5. The Influence of History: International Relations

Michael Doyle, "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Parts 1 and 2, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 12, Nos 3 & 4, 1983. Available through K-State Hale Library on JStor.

Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History?" in The National Interest, Summer1989. http://www.wesjones.com/eoh.htm

John Mearsheimer, "Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq war: realism versus neo-conservatism," openDemocracy, 2005. http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-americanpower/morgenthau_2522.jsp

Suggested Books:

Michael Doyle, Ways of War and Peace, Norton, 1997, Part II: Liberalism.

Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, Free Press, 1992.

Francis Fukuyama, Our Post-Human Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, Picador, 2003.

John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, W.W. Norton, 2003.

Hans Morgenthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Midway Reprint, 1974.

6. History and Social Science

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 3rd. ed, 1996, as assigned.

Suggested Books:

Steve Fuller, Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science, Icon Books, 2003.

Thomas S. Kuhn (Author), James Conant (Editor), John Haugeland (Editor), The Road since Structure:Philosophical Essays, 1970-1993, University Of Chicago Press, 2002.

Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Routledge, 2002.

7. Political Thought and the State of the Discipline

Strauss, Natural Right and History, Introduction

David M. Ricci, The Tragedy of Political Science: Politics, Scholarship, and Democracy, Ch. 1: Political Science as a Profession; Ch. 9, The Tragedy of Political Science; Epilogue on Political Theory (K-State Copy Service Reader)

Suggested Books:

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 3rd Edition, 1996.

Ferguson and Mansbach, The Elusive Quest: Theory and International Relations, University of S. Carolina Press, 1988.

Ferguson and Mansbach, The Elusive Quest Continues: Theory and Global Politics, Prentice Hall, 2003.

Kristen Renwick Monroe, Perestroika!: The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science, Yale University Press, 2005.

Hans Morgenthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Midway Reprint, 1974.

David M. Ricci, The Tragedy of Political Science: Politics Scholarship, and Democracy, Yale University Press, 1984. (The parts not covered in class)


The paper for this class should:

1. be 15-20 pages long, double spaced with reasonable margins, including endnotes or bibliography.

2. use a consistent method of citation, whether parenthetical citation, endnotes, or footnotes. Chosen citation method must include page numbers.

3. include a bibliography, regardless of method of citation.

The paper can take the form of:

1. an examination of one particular philosopher or thinker or one particular work, either one studied in this class, or one we have not dealt with. This paper should focus on one or a few central questions to answer about the philosopher and his/her philosophy or about the particular work. If the philosopher is one we have studied in the class, the paper must go beyond what was read/discussed in class for that unit.

2. a paper which focuses on the application of political philosophy to other political science sub-disciplines or public administration. This paper should focus on a particular thinker and use selected works by that thinker as well as secondary sources on that thinker and his/her application to another sub-discipline.

3. an documented essay which starts with a question of contemporary significance and delves into one or more philosophic sources in an attempt to clarify and answer that question. The question may be one discussed in class, but your treatment of it must go beyond the treatment of it in class.

In any case, you must:

1. read the philosophers or thinkers you are discussing in the original (in other words, original works, which can be in translation) and be able to show evidence for your argument directly from their works. Do not rely solely on secondary, explanatory sources.

2. employ at least ten sources in all, whether they be primary or secondary in nature.


Topics due: ______(Hand in a title and a one page summary of your general plan, approach, goals, and at least five of your sources)

Papers due:  Wednesday before the final exam.

Note: The instructor of this course will adhere to/enforce KSU's student honor code. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism consists not only in taking materials from authors verbatim without attribution but also in taking concepts and ideas without attribution.