Introduction to Political Theory

Introduction to Political Theory (GVPT101)

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The purpose of this course is to give you a broad background in relevant philosophies of the relationships between Man and the State. In this course, we will explore such diverse philosophical positions as Liberalism, Conservatism, Communism, and Universalism. While the course appears, at first glance, to follow a chronological order, it is more of a chronological order of the initial formations of the thoughts, and not of the philosophers. Thus, Bentham and Rawls will be studied in the same week, as will Locke and Smith.

Course Objectives

  1. To identify the major philosophers throughout history.
  2. To elaborate on their contributions to the story of Western Political Philosophy.
  3. To analyze the beliefs of certain political philosophers and identify commonalities with previous political philosophers.
  4. To synthesize various political philosophers within the same school to get a deeper understanding of that school.
  5. To evaluate the various theories of government in light of the United States.
  6. To develop a research paper and a slide presentation detailing the life, times, and beliefs of a specific political philosopher.


  • August 31, 2010
    This course is now ready for prime time. Please read the syllabus and the stylesheet very carefully, especially the parts regarding plagiarism. Also, wander around the course website to learn its layout and the locations of your readings for the course.
  • August 24, 2010
    This course is not ready, yet. Please hang in there as I try to formulate a course on Political Philosophy that is both enjoyable and informative.