30331 - POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 23
Synchronous Blended: Lezioni erogate in modalità sincrona in aula (max 1 ora per credito online sincrona)
Students without any background in philosophy may find it useful to have a preliminary look at a political philosophy handbook
Political philosophy gives you the opportunity to 1. find some historical ground for many of the topics you will be studying during these three years and hopefully 2. to uncover not only how politics work, but also why it works that way.
There are infinite ways to structure a course on political philosophy. The material for this one is loosely organized around the ideas of obedience and disobedience. We will interrogate each author we will read on whether they lean more towards stability or change, and why. In particular, we will aim at understanding what balance of the two is optimal for citizens in a democracy. Of course, as we follow this running theme, we will also address the usual questions that have kept political thinkers busy for the past two and a half millennia: What does it mean to be free? What does it mean to be equal? What kind of freedom and equality are worth having? What is the nature of state power, and what is the form of government that best exercises it or distributes it? When and how might we want to resist that power? What is democracy? What is good, and what might not be good, about democracy? What is justice?
Know the evolution of leading political science theories
Use basic political science concepts and language and interpret political events in light of the main political theories
Read closely: Actively and thoughtfully read and respond to diverse scholarly perspectives in political theory
students will develop the ability to effectively communicate with their audience, both face‐to‐face and in public, work in groups and
develop negotiation and leadership skills.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Individual assignments
- Group assignments
Students will have the option to contribute individually to the course by way of a presentation of a paper, according to the schedule posted in the syllabus.
Short group assignments will take place periodically to assess understanding of the basic concepts
There will be a partial exam in March (50% of the final grade) and second partial at the end of the course (50% of the final grade). Alternatively, students may take just the general exam at the end of the course.
The exams assess understanding of course materials, including lectures, readings and classroom activities. They will involve short answers to questions relative to content and essays to evaluate both the understanding of broader questions and analytical capabilities in the context of course material.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, Hackett Publishing Company
Nicolò Machiavelli, The Prince, Cambridge University Press
Astra Taylor, What Is Democracy? 2018 documentary https://zeitgeistfilms.com/film/whatisdemocracy
Other readings indicated in the course schedule, which will be posted/distributed the week before class