Department:Politics, Philosophy and Religion
Level:Part II (yr 3)
Course Convenor:Dr C Macleod
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Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabusback to top
This module gives students the opportunity to explore the thought of two political theorists in depth. In this way it offers an alternative to the popular survey courses that the Department already offers. Intrinsic to its aim is the attendant notion that students should take responsibility for their own study and research.
The first thinker for the course will be set at the betginning of the year by the course convenor; the second thinker (weeks 6-10) will be chosen by students from those remaining on the syllabus through election. Students will be provided with summaries of the themes of the thinkers so as they can make informed choices - but will also be made aware before they commit to the course in the course guides that the majority vote will hold the day. In this way students not only have the opportunity to direct their own learning, but the course also produces new combination and responses from students and staff alike. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss topics via LUVLE, and to attend a thrice termly voluntary study group.
Indicatively the syllabus will include the following topics (although the exact composition of the syllabus from year-to-year will vary according to student choice).
Plato: forms and the good-itself, the structure of the kallipolis (Platos ideal polity), the lies of the rulers and censorship, private property, women, children, and slaves, freedom and totalitarianism.
Aristotle: the link between politics and ethics, community and the political animal, natural law, the classification of constitutions, women, children, and slavery, economic
Hume: experience and knowledge, moral judgement, natural and artificial virtues, justice and conventions, property and justice, government, contract theory, utilitarianism and conservatism.
Kant: freedom and autonomy, the role of the individual, the role of reason, cosmopolitanism, government by agreement, censorship and the state, enlightenment.
Nietzsche: the problems with reading Nietzsche, early political philosophy, later political philosophy, the role of the state, the death of God, the slave revolt in morals, the Ubermensch, sovereign individuals, radical aristocracy.
Marx: the early Marx, Hegel, species-being, alienation, historical materialism, private property, bourgeois philosophy, critique of the modern state, the communist alternative.
Popper: piecemeal social engineering, the link between science and politics, the scientific method, the Open Society, the critique of historicism, falsification and progress.
Hayek: liberalism and democracy, markets, the errors of planning, socialism and freedom, tradition, the rule of law, private property, social justice.
In addition to the 10 week syllabus an extra two hour workshop will be held in the first week of summer term in accordance with new contact-hours requirements in 2009/10.
Curriculum Design: Pre-requisites/Co-requisites/Exclusionsback to top
POLI 100 or PHIL 100
Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
The ultimate aim of the course is not only to deepen students understanding of the thinkers under review and the nature of political theory - it is also intended to encourage them to reflect on their own roles as members of an academic community. As such, the course will offer some direct guidance, but will also provide an element of choice so as students can direct and connect with their own learning experiences.
1. Give students a chance to develop deeper knowledge of the political theories of the thinkers under review.
2. Give students an appreciation of those thinkers not only in terms of some specific political ideas, but how those ideas link up within a body of philosophical thought.
3. Enable students to approach and read a body of political theory.
4. Make students familiar with the academic standards and forms of research connected to the practice of theory - and to enable them to demonstrate that they can partake in scholarly academic study and debate.
Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
The aim of this module is to further develop students transferable skills. The module aims to:
Develop the capacity to analyse complex arguments and construct responses and evaluations of those arguments.
Develop written and verbal communication skills through course reading, seminar discussions, and course work assessments.
Enable the student to feel confident in approaching a written document, analysing its key components, and producing both summary and evaluation of that document.
Develop independent research skills and use of learning technology.
Develop an understanding of the students role as a member of an academic community.
Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
Demonstrate an understanding of key positions of the thinkers under review.
Demonstrate an understanding of the key notions employed in the texts under review.
Draw points of comparison and contrast between the approaches taken by the thinkers under review in terms of both (a) their overall response to the political conditions of their time, and (b) their framing and development of the language of political theory.
Review and assess the major texts/thinkers under review demonstrated through verbal and written assessment.
Articulate their own position in relation to the thinkers/themes of the course.
This will all be demonstrated through a mixture of group discussion, course work essays, examinations, and participation on LUVLE and the voluntary study group.
Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
Identify the central themes in an argument.
Compare and contrast differing political arguments and assess their validity.
Demonstrate an ability to apply theory to empirical cases.
Critically engage with competing arguments especially in the context of the academic literature.
To better understand what it means to be a member of an academic community, and begin to take part in its research and scholarly culture and activities.
(Again, demonstrated through written work, discussions in seminars and the voluntary study group, discussions on LUVLE, and evidence of wider reading).
Assessment: Details of Assessmentback to top
Students must produce one coursework essay of 3000 words.
Students must sit a two hour examination in the summer term.
The exam will be slightly longer than other courses which run for ten weeks. The reason for this is to allow students time to demonstrate a fuller knowledge of the topic area. Good students should have a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the two thinkers under review. Therefore, at the top end, we would expect to see exam answers of a more sophisticated quality.
Curriculum Design: Select Bibliographyback to top
Indicative readings will include:
Aristotle. The politics / New Zealand : Penguin Books, 1992.
Hayek, Friedrich A. von. Law, legislation and liberty : a new statement of the liberal principles of justice and political economy / London : Routledge and K. Paul, 1973-1976.
Hayek, Friedrich A. von. The fatal conceit : the errors of socialism / London : Routledge, 1988.
Hume, David. A treatise of human nature / Oxford : Clarendon Press; New York : Oxford University Press, 1978.
Hume, David. Essays, moral, political, and literary / Indianapolis : Liberty Classics, 1987.
Kant, Immanuel. Kants political writings / Cambridge U.P., 1991.
Marx, Karl. Selected writings / Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1977.
Marx, Karl. The German ideology / Lawrence & Wishart, 1965.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond good and evil: prelude to a philosophy of the future; Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the genealogy of morals and Ecce homo / New York : Vintage, 1967.
Plato. Republic / Oxford; New York : Oxford University Press, 1994.
Popper, Karl Raimund. The open society and its enemies / London : Routledge and K. Paul, 1966.
Popper, Karl Raimund. The poverty of historicism / London : Routledge and K. Paul, 1960
Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributesback to top
Politics and International Relations Major