17.03 Introduction to Political Thought

Spring 2004

Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan. London: Andrew Crooke, 1651.
Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan. London: Andrew Crooke, 1651. Holmes Collection. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress.)

Course Highlights

This course features a full set of lecture notes and links to downloadable readings.

Course Description

This course examines major texts in the history of political thought and the questions they raise about the design of the political and social order. It considers the ways in which thinkers have responded to the particular political problems of their day, and the ways in which they contribute to a broader conversation about human goods and needs, justice, democracy, and the proper relationship of the individual to the state. One aim will be to understand the strengths and weaknesses of various regimes and philosophical approaches in order to gain a critical perspective on our own. Thinkers include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Tocqueville.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.

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Prof. Sarah Song

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session