Political Thought

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1-(( Michael Curtis, ed., The Great Political theories: From the Greeks to the Enlightenment(Harper, 2008); ISBN: 9780061351365 (“Curtis I” in the readings listed below))

2-Michael Curtis, ed., The Great Political theories: From the French revolution to modern times (Harper, 2008); ISBN: 9780061351372 (“Curtis II” in the readings listed below)


Curtis I:

Hobbes, Locke, Hume: 329-349, 372-382, 397-411,

Montesquieu, Burke, Paine, de Maistre: 425-440

Curtis II:

Rousseau, Condorcet, Kant: 18-47,

Montesquieu, Burke, Paine, de Maistre: 51-75

Respond to each of the questions below. Do not use any source material but the assigned primary texts. If you quote from the primary sources, simply put the page number from the book in parentheses. Answers should be no longer than three paragraphs (single-spaced) long. Your responses are due Monday at the beginning of class.

  1. Compare and contrast the political philosophies of Hobbes and Locke. Which provides a more consistent explanation for the need and nature of government?
  2. According to Rousseau, what is the collective will? What role does it play in his view of political society?
  3. What is Kant’s categorical imperative? Is it a helpful concept for thinking about politics?
  4. Compare and contrast the dispositions and political philosophies of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. Which do you find more helpful? Why?


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