POL 377


Dr. Carter – Fall 2006


TEXTS :     TANNENBAUM, D. and David Schultz. Inventors of Ideas . St. Martins Press, most recent edition

      NIETZSCHE, Friedrich, Thus Spake Zarathustra


The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the history of western political philosophy. Representative political writings ranging from the time of Plato to the twentieth century will be surveyed. The approach of the course is both historical and philosophical. Political ideas will be addressed in their original historical context as well as independently of any particular historical or cultural limitations.



There will be three major tests. The tests will each be worth 25% of the grade in the course. Each test will be essay in nature. Cumulatively, these three tests will equal 75% of the grade in the course.

In addition to the tests, each student will be required to write a research paper on the political ideas of one of the philosophers considered during the semester. The subject of the paper will be selected randomly at the first class meeting. Each student will be expected to be the class “expert” when their particular philosopher is the subject of class discussion. The performance in this regard also will be reflected in each students' grade.

Each student will read an original work by the philosopher randomly assigned to them.

A weekly reading diary of notes, thoughts, and insights will be kept over the course of the semester. Students will turn in their reading diary in three parts at three different points in the semester. On each date of submission, students will have read 1/3 of the work assigned.

The periodic reports will include – pages read, notes taken, thoughts triggered/inspired, satisfactions/dissatisfactions, and any other commentary the student may wish or need to make.

Cumulatively, the reports will equal to 20% of the course grade and class participation will institute 5%.


PLAGIARISM – A writer can be said to be guilty of plagiarism when he or she uses the work of another author without acknowledgment in the text and in the bibliography. We all rely heavily on the work of others as we go about our own research and writing. If information of a common, general nature obtained through background reading is incorporated into a paper in our own words, plagiarism is not involved. On the other hand, it is crucial that you be candid when presenting specific facts, interpretations, or analyses of data which are not your own. Identify your sources and/or supporting evidence. If parts of another writer's material are used directly, either paraphrased or directly quoted, without acknowledgment, you are guilty of plagiarism. There are degrees of plagiarism. Complete plagiarism involves submitting a paper, essay, review, etc., that is entirely the work of another person. Substantial plagiarism exists when there has been fairly extensive copying of phrases and/or complete sentences. The reproduction of a lengthy passage without acknowledgment, even though a few words may be changed in each sentence, also constitutes substantial plagiarism. Minor plagiarism exists when one presents the writing in a sentence or two as one's own, when it is not. I do not view plagiarism lightly. It is a serious academic offense, and will be treated as such. The penalty for minor plagiarism is normally a reduction in the grade assigned for the assignment in question. Substantial plagiarism will result in a grade of zero for the assignment in question. Repeated instances of substantial plagiarism will result in a grade of F in the course. Complete plagiarism will automatically result in a grade of F in the course.


STUDENT ABSENCES ON RELIGIOUS HOLY DAYS POLICY -- Section 51.911(b) of the Texas Education Code requires that an institution of higher education excuse a student from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose. A student whose absence is excused under this subsection may not be penalized for that absence and shall be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment from which the student is excused within a reasonable time after the absence.

  University policy 8161001 provides the procedures to be followed by the student and instructor. A student desiring to absent himself/herself from a scheduled class in order to observe (a) religious holy day(s) shall present to each instructor involved a written statement concerning the religious holy day(s). The instructor will complete a form notifying the student of a reasonable timeframe in which the missed assignments and/or examinations are to be completed.


AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT – SHSU adheres to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. If you have a disability that may affect adversely your work in this class, then I encourage you to register with the SHSU Counseling Center and to talk with me about how I can best help you. All disclosures of disabilities will be kept strictly confidential. NOTE: No accommodation can be made until you register with the Counseling Center .


COURSE OUTLINE – The following is a tentative topical outline for the course and a schedule of readings.


I.    Introduction to the Study of Political Philosophy, Introduction:    T&S, Ch. 1, Nietzsche

II.      Ancient Political Philosophy: T&S, Ch. 2-5, Nietzsche

III.      Medieval Political Philosophy: T&S, Ch. 6-8, Nietzsche

IV.      The Renaissance: T&S, Ch. 9; Nietzsche

V.      The Reformation: T&S, Ch. 10, Nietzsche

VI.      The Enlightenment: T&S, Ch. 11-13; Nietzsche

VII.      Romanticism, Conservatism, Empiricism, Positivism : T&S, Ch. 14-17; Nietzsche

VIII.    The 20 th Century: T&S, Ch. 18-19, Nietzsche


The following is a more or less chronological listing of the most important political philosophers from Plato to the present. Next to each is noted either their single most important political book or one of their most important political works.


Plato, The Republic

Aristotle, The Politics

St. Augustine , The City of God

St. Thomas Aquineas, Summa Theologica

Machiavelli, The Prince

Jean Bodin, Six Books on the Republic

Martin Luther, On Secular Authority

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Richard Hooker, Laws of the Ecclesiastical Polity

John Locke, The Second Treatise on Government

Rousseau, The Social Contract

James Harrington, Oceana

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Jeremy Bentham, Fragment on Government

David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

John Stuart Mill, On Representative Governnment

Thomas Jefferson, Works

Auguste Comte, Positivism

G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right

Herbert Spencer, Social Statics

V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution

Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

Fredrick Nietzsche, Also Sprach Zarathustra

T. H. Green, Lectures on the Principal of Political Obligation

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism




1.   Nature of man               6.   Justice

2.   Theory of Reality               7.   Education

3.   Nature of the State             8.   Equality

4.   Right, Privileges, Duties of Citizens     9.   Property

5.   Purpose of the State             10.   Law