The course aims at investigating and discussing the basic concepts of political philosophy concerning on the one hand, the legitimating grounds of political power and, therefore, the concepts of political obedience, while on the other, the distribution of material wealth and the enforcement of rights and liberties. The analysis of the original texts from T. Hobbes’s Leviathan to J.Rawls’s Theory of Justice intends to bring out divergent interpretations and approaches to the concepts of the state, democracy, freedom, and justice
By the successful completion of the course the student will be able to understand and analyze
Week 1# Conceptual demarcation of the subject and methodological remarks: The difference between political philosophy and political science/the conflict between political philosophy and positivism/historicism.
Week 2 # Aspects of the ancient Greek political philosophy: the relationship between citizen and polis
Week 3-4 # The state of nature and human nature as legitimating grounds of the political power in Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau.
Week 5-6 # Justifying the state
Week 7-8 # The legitimating grounds of government
Week 9-10 # The concept of liberty
Week 11 # The distribution of property
Week 12 # Theories of justice
Week 13 # Political philosophy today: aspects and questions.
Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, ed. C. B. MacPherson , Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.
Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, The Social Contract and other Later Political Writings, ed. S. Gourevitch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Marx, Karl, Selected Writings, ed. D. McLellan (2nd edn), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Mill, John Stuart, Utilitarianism, in Utilitarianism and Other Writings, Mary Warnock, , 2nd edn, Glasgow: Collins, 2003.
Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice , rev. edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Written or oral exams