POLS-Y381: Classical Political Thought

POLS-Y381 — Fall 2023

Aurelian Craiutu
GA 1134 Global & International Studies Building
Days and Times
Monday and Wednesday, 1:15 - 2:30 p.m.
Course Description

The course offers a close examination of some of the most important works and themes in classical political thought. It includes representative selections from classical texts such as Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, Cicero’s On Duties, St. Augustine’s City of God, and Aquinas’s Summa. The class will also examine a major text in non-Western thought (ancient China) by Sun-Tzu (The Art of War). The course includes texts from five disciplines (political theory, philosophy, history, political science, and religion) and has a global dimension by covering four major cultures, both western and non-western (ancient Greece, ancient Rome, early Christianity, and ancient China). We will focus on key topics and concepts such as morality, power, laws and constitutions, civic virtue, religion, statesmanship, just war, democracy, justice, freedom, and the problem of “dirty hands” in politics. Special attention will be paid to examining the context in which these authors wrote their works, the main concepts they used, and the implications of their ideas for our contemporary debates. The class will use a combination of lectures, debates, and discussions. The requirements include two exams (mid-term and final), several quizzes, and online discussions on specific themes announced on the syllabus.