GV151-4-AU-CO:
Truth, Justice, and the Nature of Politics

The details
2020/21
Government
Colchester Campus
Autumn
Undergraduate: Level 4
Current
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
15
03 June 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

GV150

Key module for

BA 0A56 Political Theory and Public Policy (Including Year Abroad),
BA 7L29 Political Theory and Public Policy,
BA 7L30 Political Theory and Public Policy (Including Placement Year),
BA L200 Politics,
BA L201 Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA L202 Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L203 Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA L225 Politics and International Relations,
BA L226 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA L227 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL234 Politics and International Relations,
MPOLL235 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL236 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

We study some fundamental texts of the 'Western' philosophical tradition and seek to examine the assumptions underlying these texts as well as the implications they have for us today. We will explore profound themes such as truth, justice, democracy, empire, and what it is to live "a good life." We will take care to locate these texts in their respective historical contexts to better understand them as political acts. That is, these authors were responding to their particular contexts and trying to effect change. Our purpose in engaging with these texts is not to canonize them; rather, it is to understand their contribution to the history of the western world – for better or for worse.

Module aims

1. To introduce students to the study of the history of political thought and to stimulate interest in the topic.
2. To familiarise students with key concepts in political theory such as freedom, rights, equality, and with debates that surround these concepts.
3. To equip students with the understanding of the relevance of political theory to the study of politics. These are not esoteric texts; they are profound political acts with current relevance.

Module learning outcomes

The concepts and debates taught in this module constitute the bread and butter issues of politics. Anyone interested in politics and related fields should therefore find the content of value both as a citizen, and across numerous professions, including positions in the law, and with NGOs, think tanks, political parties, and the civil services. If a student’s specialisation is in empirical political science, the normative study of politics develops students’ sense of which empirical questions and topics are morally important and why. Thus, the course is useful for students preparing to undertake postgraduate research in political science.

Module information

See Module Outline for reading list - available on Talis and Moodle

Learning and teaching methods

One pre-recorded lecture and one interactive session per week

Bibliography*

  • Hobbes. (c1996) 'The Leviathan', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.222-242
  • Machiavelli. (c1996) 'The Prince', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.167-187
  • Aristotle. (c1996) 'The Politics', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.Book I, II (1-5, 9), III, VII,-skim IV
  • Plato. (c1996) 'The republic', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.39-106
  • Machiavelli. (c1996) 'The Discourses on Livy', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.188-193
  • Irwin, Terence; Aristotle. (1999) Nicomachean ethics, Indianapolis, Ind: Hackett Pub. Co., pp.Book I (1-4, 6, 7, 9, 13), II (1-3, 5, 7); V, VI (1-8, 13), VIII (1-3, 7-9, 11), IX (9), X (6-9)-
  • Plato. (c1996) 'The republic', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.79-106
  • Hobbes. (c1996) 'The Leviathan', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.205-222
  • Thucydides. (1993) On justice, power, and human nature: selections from The history of the Peloponnesian War, Indianapolis: Hackett., pp.1-2; 8-13; 31-37; 39-58; 66-76-

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Online Test 1    60% 
Coursework   Online Test 2    40% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
TBC
Module Supervisor: TBC Module Administrator: Nicola Rowley, govquery@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
No

External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 110 hours, 105 (95.5%) hours available to students:
5 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Government

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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