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

The details
2019/20
Government
Colchester Campus
Autumn
Undergraduate: Level 4
Current
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
15
29 May 2019

 

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 L200PT 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),
BSC L222 Politics and International Relations,
BSC L223 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L224 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year)

Module description

GV151 is the first of a two-part module. With GV150 next term, 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 of truth, justice, democracy, empire, what it is to live "a good life," the self, morality, the fair distribution of resources, the meanings of labour and gender, liberalism, republicanism, the meaning of mass society (particularly as it impacts the individual), and the despairing turn from optimistic anticipation of human emancipation. 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.

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. 4. To enhance students’ abilities for logical argumentation and critical thinking. 5. To develop students’ ability to articulate their views on complicated political and moral questions and to defend those views using reasoned argument – both orally, due to practice during lecture and class, and in writing, through the required assignments

Module learning outcomes

The skills of presenting, defending, and criticising rigorous normative arguments are valued across numerous professions. The module is useful for employability in most sectors, including with NGOs, think tanks, political parties, and the civil services. Skills of argumentation and careful writing are also indispensable for careers in law and consulting. 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

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

1 x 1 hour lecture per week, 1 x 1 hour class 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', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts since Plato, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.183-193
  • 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 Theory in the news pop culture 08/11/2019 30%
Coursework Reading Response 20/12/2019 30%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Laura Montanaro plus Graduate Teaching Assistants
Module Supervisor: Dr Montanaro, lmonta@essex.ac.uk 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, 106 (96.4%) hours available to students:
4 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Government

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.