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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 402
Course Title: *Classical Political Philosophy
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of major writers in political philosophy from Plato to Machiavelli. Cross-listed as PHIL 402. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered even Fall.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any appropriate anthology or collection of writings from the major authors of political philosophy.

Western Political Thought
By Nelson, Brian R. (Prentice Hall)
Political Philosophy: The Essential Texts
By Cahn, Steven (Oxford)
Classics of Moral and Political Theory
By Morgan, Michael, Ed. (Hackett)
Course Objectives
  • To introduce the subject of political philosophy and its primary authors.
  • To begin formulating personal philosophical views on the political world.
Measurable Learning
  • Explain the relationship between one's view of human nature and the proper political system.
  • Identify significant trends in the historical development of political thought such as equality, liberty, gender equity, justice, force and the right of revolution.
  • Explain significant contributions of the most important writers of political thought beginning at the time of Plato.
  • Read and comprehend original sources in political philosophy.
Topical Outline:
  • Note: POSC 402 is a senior-level course in political philosophy. As such, students must be required to read from original texts for all philosophers discussed. Students must also be assigned an intensive writing assignment which may be either based on research, conducted outside class or in developing a personal political philosophy citing the work of other philosophers.
  • Also, all examinations for this course must contain a significant (more than 50%) essay portion in which students analyze and critique political ideas.
  • Plato - The Republic
  • Aristotle - The Laws
  • St. Augustine - City of God
  • Acquinas - Summa Theologica
  • Machiavelli - The Prince

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Roebuck Date: August 5, 2014
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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