This year-long course examines the foundations of civil society. Drawing on both historical and theoretical materials, the students study changing conceptions of how a state is and should be organized. In particular, we focus on different treatments of the interwoven concepts of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. As part of their study, students practice the methodological tools of analysis relevant to philosophy and political theory, learn to formulate and evaluate hypotheses about the content of critical concepts, and develop a thorough knowledge of their political traditions and principles. These lessons contribute to the broader aim of the course, which is to prepare students for citizenship in their community by refining their ability to participate constructively in the discourse that draws on these conceptions of the state. While the course is organized around principles of American government, the readings are germane to democratic society generally. Readings include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, American founding texts, Addams, Berlin, Rawls, Nozick, Sandel, Sen, Marx, and many others.
Democracy, Freedom, and the Rule of Law
History and Philosophy of Science (OHSC0) or placement assessment