PO220 History of Political Philosophy

for SP 2007

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PO 220 History of Political Philosophy


SP 2007 HO


Brecke, Ronald



Office Location


Office Hours

M, 10-11; T, 11:30-1:30; R 11:30-1:30; F, 10-11or by appointment.

Daytime Phone




Web Page


Semester Dates

January 16 - May 4

Class Days


Class Time

12:25 - 1:40 PM

Credit Hours




Curtis, Great Political Theories Volumes 1 and 2

Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
( PH 220) An analysis of political philosophy in its historical perspective, with a special examination of the influences of political philosophy on political institutions and on the development of political science. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

The facilitator’s educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings. The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the evolution of political philosophy using such concepts as justice, equality, ethics, freedom and citizenship.
  2. Use various concepts of political philosophy in communication.
  3. Develop skills in political debate.
  4. Develop skills in interpreting political philosophers
  5. Show an awareness and appreciation of different political points of view.
  6. Develop a sense of one's own political philosophy.
  7. Describe how political philosophy can be used to bring about understanding and dialog on contemporary political problems.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Three exams
Term paper



                        90-100=A                    Class participation        20%

                        80- 89=B                     Term paper                  20%

                        70- 79=C                     Each Exam                   20%

                        60- 69=D

                         0- 59=F

Late Submission of Course Materials:


: for each day any of the above assignments is late, 10% will be subtracted from the grade for that part of the paper.

No work will be accepted after the last class except for the final exam.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:


1. Attend classes regularly. Each absence will lower your cumulative grade for the course by 2%. There are no excused absences except in extreme cases of illness attested to by a Doctor, or a family death. You may regain one point for your cumulative grade by handing in a typed summary of the reading for each day you miss. These summaries are due one week after the class is missed. They will not be accepted for credit after that time. If you are missing a lot of classes due to health, consider dropping the course or taking an incomplete for the course.

2. Students are responsible for all material covered in class while they were absent.

3. Be prepared for class. This means that you have read the assignment and are prepared to discuss it in class. This course is a combination of lecture and discussion and you are expected to take part in the discussions. 20% of your final grade will be determined by your in-class participation.

4. There will be three examinations, including the final. Examinations will be take-home, long essay types. Exams may be comprehensive.

5. A term paper is required for this course. Details will be given on a separate handout.

6. No late or early examinations will be given or accepted except in extreme cases such as family deaths or illness. Missing an exam, except in those extreme cases, will result in an “F” for the course.

 7. Late assignments will have their grade lowered one letter for each day or part of a day they are late. Assignments are due at the start of the class on the due date.

8. Cheating or plagiarism will result in an “F” for the course and a recommendation to the Provost that you be dismissed from the university.

9. Seniors in their last semester need not take the final exam if they have an “A” going into the final exam.

10. If you have any questions or problems come and see me, call me, or email me. 

11. Any student with special needs or who has a disability in the classroom environment should come and see me immediately after the first class.

11. Portable phones and pagers must be turned off in class, except for security or emergency medical personnel.

12. No work will be accepted after the last class except for the final exam.


13. Course grades will be determined on the following bases:


                        90-100=A                    Class participation        20%

                        80- 89=B                     Term paper                  20%

                        70- 79=C                     Each Exam                   20%

                        60- 69=D

                         0- 59=F


13. I will respond to emails during office hours.

14. No assignments or exams will be accepted via email.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:






19        Intro to course

22        What is political philosophy?

Curtis, Vol. 1, preface and introduction

26        Creating and evaluating theories           

29        The Greeks: Socrates and Plato

            Curtis: 34-64


2          Plato and Aristotle


5          Christianity: Augustine and Aquinas

            146-156, 196-210

9          Continued

12        Early pragmatism: Machiavelli


16        The Reformation and Resistance: Luther and Brutus

            239-249, 266-272

23        Continued

26        Who should rule? Hobbes




2          Hobbes continued

            Detailed Outline Due

5          Spinoza



9          Limiting government: Locke


19        Continued

23        Functional divisions of government: Montesquieu


26        Forcing people to be free: Rousseau

            Curtis Vol. II, pp. 18-34

March continued

30        Continued


2          Rational economic man: Adam Smith


9          Classical conservatism: Burke




13        Individual liberty: Mill


16        continued

Federalist #10 (handout) Federalist #51 (handout)


20        The Dialectic: Hegel


23        Communism

27        Social Darwinism


30        Feminism

Klymlicka handout, Janet Richards handout




4          Continued


7          FINAL EXAM DUE 1:00

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Additional Information:




This assignment will give you an opportunity to think about political philosophy and to develop an outline of a personal political philosophy. There are no right or wrong answers to the following questions; but there are answers that are better or worse depending upon on how well you present your ideas. Your grade will be determined largely upon how well and completely you make your arguments. The organization of your thoughts becomes very important in such a paper. Therefore, be sure to clearly define your terms and have your paper follow a logical progression.


STYLE: see Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual


To complete this assignment, you must hand in three separate reports, each of which must be typewritten, double-spaced. All previous reports should be handed in each time. No emailed assignments will be accepted.



                        MARCH 2      Detailed Outline (30% of your overall grade)

                        APRIL 9         Initial Paper (50%- 70% of the overall paper grade)

                        APRIL 30       Corrected Copy (if necessary) (20% of the overall paper           


NOTE: for each day any of the above assignments is late, 10% will be subtracted from the grade for that part of the paper.








Answer each of the following questions in your paper:


                        1. What is the nature of humankind?

                              A) Moral or immoral?

                              B) Just or unjust?

                              C) Self-centered or altruistic?

                              D) Social or individualistic?

                             E) Competitive or cooperative?

                              F) Static or dynamic?

                              G) Passive or aggressive?

                              H) Can humankind be enlightened or is it doomed to ignorance?

                              I) Are some people better than others?


                        2. What made you reach each of the above conclusions?


                        3. Is every member of the human race equal in terms of these attributes?


4. Given what you have said about the state of human nature, answer the             following questions regarding government:


A)    Can we govern ourselves?

B)     Who should rule?

C)    Should there be elections? If not, what method should we use to choose rulers?

D)    What aspects of our life should be controlled by government?

E)     What freedoms should we have?


Be sure your paper includes and introductory paragraph and a summary paragraph.


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:1/4/2007 10:08:31 AM