Courses

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY


Teaching Staff: Vaki Fotini
Course Code: ΙΦΙ202
Course Type: Compulsory Elective
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Delivery method: Lectures
Semester: 3rd
ECTS: 5

Short Description:

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 


Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

By the successful completion of the course the student will be able to understand and analyze

  • The historical evolvement of the basic concepts and debates of political philosophy exposed in the works of modern and contemporary philosophers
  • Contemporary political practices, ideologies and questions revolving around the concepts of the state, government, justice and freedom

Syllabus:

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

  1. The contractarian theories and its critics
  2. Utilitarianism
  3. The principle of fairness

Week 7-8 # The legitimating grounds of government

  1. The freedom and equality in democracy
  2. The concept of the general will in Rousseau
  3. Representative and participatory democracy
  4.  The protection of minorities rights

Week 9-10 # The concept of liberty

  1. The liberty principle in J.S. Mill: liberty, rights, and utility
  2. The conflict between liberalism and communitarianism
  3. The Marxist criticism of liberalism           

Week 11 # The distribution of property

  1. Property and the freedom of the market
  2. Property and distributive justice
  3. Arguments against the market

Week 12 # Theories of justice

  1. The concept of the hypothetical contract in J. Rawls
  2. Criticisms of Rawls’s Theory of Justice

Week 13 # Political philosophy today: aspects and questions.

  1. Gender and politics
  2. Positive discriminations and the social model of disability.

Suggested Bibliography:

Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, ed. C. B. MacPherson [1651], Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.

Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett [1689], 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, [1861], 2nd edn, Glasgow: Collins, 2003.

Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice [1971], rev. edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 


Teaching Methods:

Open lectures.


Evaluation Methods:

Written or oral exams


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