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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: POLS213 Course ID: 3749 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course offers an overview of Western political thought from the Ancient Greeks to contemporary political theorists. It follows the rise of secularism and modernity through an Enlightenment tradition of social contract theory, shaping debates on human nature, equality, liberty, rights, and justice as the basis for civil society and democratic governance. This course is an essential foundation for the political science major.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
08/31/20 - 01/29/21 02/01/21 - 03/28/21 Winter 2021 Session I 8 Week session
09/28/20 - 02/26/21 03/01/21 - 04/25/21 Winter 2021 Session D 8 Week session
10/26/20 - 04/02/21 04/05/21 - 05/30/21 Spring 2021 Session B 8 Week session
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session
12/28/20 - 06/04/21 06/07/21 - 08/01/21 Spring 2021 Session D 8 Week session
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
02/22/21 - 07/30/21 08/02/21 - 09/26/21 Summer 2021 Session I 8 Week session
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session
04/26/21 - 10/01/21 10/04/21 - 11/28/21 Fall 2021 Session B 8 Week session
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

CO-1. Explain the intellectual origins of Western political tradition, beginning with Plato and Aristotle’s understanding of human nature, reason, virtue, politics and the good and just society.

CO-2. Explain the origins of Western political thought according to early-to-medieval Christian thinkers, Augustine and Aquinas, on human nature, reason, natural law, virtue and political rule.

CO-3: Explain the dawn of the political liberal tradition according to Machiavelli and Hobbes on human nature (state of nature), reason, equal freedom, natural right, and emerging ideas of sovereignty and consensual political rule.

CO-4: Explain classical liberal political thought according to John Locke’s social contract theory on developing ideas about the state of nature, reason, natural law and rights, equality and freedom and popular sovereignty and consent.

CO-5: Explain the differences from classical liberal thought according to the critiques of liberal thinkers Rousseau and Kant on human nature (state of nature), modern reason, equality and freedom and the social contract.

CO-6: Explain the continued differences on ideas about equality, freedom and rights in the modern liberal state and institutions according to critical historical theorists Hegel and Marx.

CO-7: Explain the debates in modern liberal thought and politics according to J.S. Mill’s discourse on liberty, equality, individuality, consent and coercion, and best forms of government.

CO-8: Explain the ideas and debates among contemporary political theorists on key concepts of liberty, equality, rights and justice in pluralistic liberal democratic societies.

The sources and links below will be repeatedly used. Consider saving or bookmarking some of these general links and pdfs for later access. Many of the readings in this course are downloadable in multiple formats, including Kindle and pdf pub. Note: You do not need a Kindle device to use Kindle. Download the free Kindle software in your app store onto any device.

Amazon Classics, Kindle Edition (free),

“Big Ideas Simply Explained: The Politics Book.” Credo Reference, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc.,

Imler, Henry. Sapientia: Readings for Philosophic Inquiry. Edited by Henry Imler, 2018, Forthcoming

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP): A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource,

Levin, Noah. 2019. Political Philosophy Reader (PPR). edited by Noah Levin, An Open Educational Resource. N.G.E. Far Press.

McLaughlin, Jeff. The Originals: Classic Readings in Western Philosophy. Thompson Rivers University/BCcampus, 2017,

Online Library of Liberty, (abbrev. OLL). Readings assigned from this site are downloadable in various formats, including Kindle.

Project Gutenberg, Gutenberg e-books can be read online and are downloadable in multiple formats, including Kindle.

“Political Theory.” School of Life. Video list,

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). Stanford.Edu,

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.