Thinking Politics: Perspectives In Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory, 2nd Edition

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Are there natural rights? In this essay you should also demonstrate how those arguments relate to contemporary issues regarding our political, social, and economic institutions. What are the purposes of government? What are the limits on the authority of government? In this essay you should also develop your own position as to the merits of their critique and the alternative ideas they advanced.

What claims were advanced by 18th century materialism and sensationalism?

Political Science

What ideas about ethics were advanced by these thinkers? In this essay you should clearly state the criteria used by the utilitarian approach and develop your own position as to whether or not you think this theory is justifiable as a way to resolve ethical conflicts in our personal and public lives. What were his contributions to modern liberalism?

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How does the Kantian approach to ethical and political issues differ from the utilitarian approach to those issues? How does his understanding of ethics differ from the utilitarian approach to ethics? This essay is due on Friday. How does he explain the origin of inequality? In this essay you must also develop your own position on his account of injustice. Basically you need to engage in the debate as to whether evil in society is caused by bad people or by bad social systems.

Do bad choices by individuals cause social evils or do unjust social structures create bad people? How does Marx understand society? What is his method of analysis? How does Marx go about developing his critique of capitalism? What are the main claims of Communism? How does his mode of inquiry add to our understanding of social, economic, and political developments? In this essay you must also demonstrate an understanding of what his theory suggests about our moral and political beliefs. Explain the extent to which his ideas are still important to conservatives and the extent to which some on the political right today have abandoned his ideas.

It will be a comprehensive essay examination. Course Requirements: Three Tests Total scores on ten critical thinking writing exercise Contribution to class discussion Final comprehensive exam. Grading: Your grade will be based upon three tests given during the course of the semester, combined score on 10 critical thinking writing exercises, your contributions to class discussion, and a final exam.

Open Syllabus Project

All tests will involve an essay format. The final examination will be comprehensive. The total possible number of points to earn for the course is Grades will be assigned according to the following percentages:. Students with Disabilities:. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, please let me know at the beginning of the semester or when given an assignment for which an accommodation is required. The Director of Disability Support Services can be reached at x Attendance Policy: The attendance policy for this course is the University policy found in the University Catalog and Student Handbook.

All work done for the class must be pledged. Your instructor will not tolerate any form of cheating. Class Discussion : Students are expected to make contributions to class discussion. Your grade in this regard will be based upon participation during the semester.

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Thinking Politics: Perspectives in Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory The second edition of this intellectually and practically engaging book, It is the kind of "stealth" force on political theory that normally we have to read. Jul 21, Thinking politics: perspectives in ancient, modern, and postmodern political theory. by: Thiele, Leslie Paul Edition: 2nd ed. External-identifier.

These assignments will be three pages in length. They will be done in Microsoft Word with a Font size 12 and double spaced. For students majoring in either history or political science, documentation for these exercises will be done according to the Turabian format for a research paper.

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  • Thinking politics : perspectives in ancient, modern, and postmodern political theory.

You then go to this course entitled Modern Political Philosophy, use the course ID and the course password posc Students will turn in a hard copy of the essay on the day the essays are due, and must also submit an electronic copy to the turnitin. Your essays also must demonstrate reading beyond what is required for class assignments and must reflect knowledge of current political events. Each essay is worth 10 points.

There are 10 essays due during the semester. Late papers will lose points. Taking Exams : Exams must be taken on time. You are expected to provide proof for any legitimate reason illness, participation in a University-sponsored activity, or recognizable emergency you have for missing an exam. Having another test on the dame day or having problems with the person you are dating are not valid reasons for missing a test. Bibliography: Required Reading:. Hannah Arendt. The Human Condition Cesare Beccaria. On Crimes and Punishments Eduard Bernstein. Evolutionary Socialism Edmund Burke. Reflections on the Revolution in France Jeremy Bentham.

Identity and Difference Marquis de Condorcet. The Second Sex Betty Friedan. The Feminine Mystique Georg Hegel. Philosophy of Right Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan Immanuel Kant. They should chart the subtle interaction between historical or social influences and the material or physical causes of behavior.

Researcher biography

Despite his reluctance to mimic the natural sciences, Weber was opposed to any historical description of events that made no systematic attempt at explanation. He suggested that explanatory theories be developed and actively employed in the social sciences. These social scientific theories would be based on the observed correlations of human events, institutions, attitudes, and values.

This theoretical framework may allow one to explain foreign policy neatly, leaving the waters unmuddied by complicated analyses of the role played by advisers, institutions, bureaucracies, the economic climate, or the election cycle. Ideal types are like the conceptual lenses that create focused images of the world. In producing clear images, ideal types necessarily truncate reality, violating its integrity. The task at hand, according to Weber, was to do as little violence as possible to a complex reality while still developing a sufficiently powerful theory to explain it.

Many social scientists adopt a Weberian approach in their efforts to understand and explain political phenomena.

Other Writings

Sustained philosophical analysis carried out earnestly in the pursuit of truth, Plato maintains, is the only route to creating adequate political norms and securing the good life. This contemporary Marxism takes its inspiration from Antonio Gramsci and gives greater significance to the role of culture and ideas, along with focussing on economic aspects of order and change. Both approaches—with some exceptions e. To what extent must dogmatic claims to certainty and truth be tempered by sceptical doubt? Ayoob, Mohammed. We must point our theoretical lenses at interesting and important things; otherwise there is not much point in looking through them.

Political science is thus varied in its methodological approaches. Nonetheless, each of its traditional fields such as Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Public Policy aims to develop good theories that are confirmed by reliable data. Their practitioners, regardless of their chosen methodological approach, strive to construct conceptual lenses or maps that produce parsimonious, accurate, and significant pictures of political reality.

Thinking Politics Perspectives In Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory, 2nd Edition

In turn, they attempt to measure the political world accurately in order to confirm, or disconfirm, their theoretical perspectives. As we shall see in the following sections, the field of political theory stands out among the traditional fields of political science by focusing less on prediction and more on interpretation, less on the collection of empirical data and more on the conceptual and historical analysis of texts, less on the precise measurement of the political world and more on its normative assessment.

The Interpretive Nature of Political Theory To the extent that human beings may be studied as mechanical objects or biological organisms, they are easily subject to scientific theorizing and the precise 12 thinking politics measurement this entails. Much modern medical research, for example, proceeds under these conditions. After all, the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology apply to human beings no less than to rocks, trees, and other animals. Nevertheless, the farther we move from the basic chemistry, physiology, or genetics of human life, the more difficult it becomes to theorize it scientifically. Employing physiological and evolutionary theories, we may with great accuracy explain why and predict how a person will cry out and pull away if suddenly jabbed with a sharp pencil. In this case, the laws of physiology find an approximate analog in the demands of economic life that stimulate people to react according to the perceived costs and benefits of their opportunities.

While economic incentives do not produce as predictable a reaction as acute physical pain, certain broad regularities are nonetheless observable. Being self-reflective, humans consciously distinguish themselves from their environment, make themselves and others objects of thought, and turn these systematically collected thoughts about themselves and others into objects of further thought. This spiral of self-reflection has no predictable end point.


The question about balancing the values of freedom and equality demands a response based on self-reflective experience. In answering this question, one would not simply react, as one does physiologically to pencil pricks. Nor would one behave in ways conforming to easily ascertained regularities, as one often does in response to economic incentives. Faced with this reality, the political theorist generally does not seek to predict behavior.

Rather, the political theorist interprets human thought and action in ways that are illuminating and promote understanding.