• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2019/2020

Political Philosophy

Category 'Best Course for Broadening Horizons and Diversity of Knowledge and Skills'
Category 'Best Course for New Knowledge and Skills'
Area of studies: International Relations
When: 2 year, 3, 4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Instructors: Alexander Koryagin
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus


This course, 130 Introduction to Modern Political Thought, provides an introduction to the nature of political theory through an examination of the ideas of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and Karl Marx – six of the most important western political theorists of the modern period, that is since the emergence of the state system in the early seventeenth century. This course offers an introduction to some of the great texts of European political theory written since the seventeenth century. The period covers the rise and development of the modern state. This form of political association has come to dominate the modern world and continues to shape the structure of modern politics. These texts provide an insight into how this emerging political form is understood, defended and criticised. The course also covers the nature and purpose of political theory in a world of states. The course begins with an overview of the political context from which modern political theory emerged. This covers the political context and the intellectual context of the European Enlightenment. This is followed by a discussion of the justification of state sovereignty and the legitimacy of absolutist rule. Students will consider the nature and rights of the individual, whether these are compatible with political rule; the use of social contract arguments to explain and justify political obligation; the nature and scope of natural law and the role of property in limiting sovereign power. The legacy of these ideas is explored through a discussion of utilitarianism and contemporary contractarianism. The second part of the course covers the challenge to the voluntarist account of the state and its account of individuals as free and equal subjects. Rousseau and Hegel offer an alternative model of the state and its connection with freedom. Both of these thinkers develop some of the ideas at the heart of communitarian conceptions of politics and the state. Finally the course considers Marx’s critique of the centrality of the state to modern politics.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To provide an introduction to the great texts of modern political theory;
  • To examine the meaning and justification of important concepts such as sovereignty, freedom, equality and rights;
  • To explore rival theoretical frameworks such as natural law, utilitarianism, egalitarianism, communitarianism and Marxism, through the analysis of classic texts;
  • To develop critical skills necessary to examine and assess complex theoretical arguments and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • To characterise and critically assess the key concepts of Hobbes' political philosophy, including the state of nature, the absolute sovereignty and the social contract.
  • To characterise and critically assess the key concepts of Locke's political philosophy, including the state of nature, the natural law and the social contract.
  • To characterise and critically assess the key concepts of Rousseau's political philosophy, including the state of nature, the general will and the social contract.
  • To characterise and critically assess the key concepts of Mill's political philosophy, including the principle of utility, the principle of liberty, and the harm principle.
  • To characterise and critically assess the key concepts of Hegel's political philosophy, including the civil society, the ethical comminuty, the constitutional state of laws and the dialectical account of the historical process.
  • To characterise and critically assess the key concepts of Marx' political philosophy, including the notions of alienation, exploitation, commodity fetishism, mode of production and communism.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Thomas Hobbes
    Political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan"
  • John Locke
    Political philosophy of John Locke's "Two Treatises of Government"
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    Political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "The Social Contract"
  • John Stuart Mill
    Political philosophy of John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty"
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
    Political philosophy of Hegel's "Philosophy of Right" and "Philosophy of History"
  • Karl Marx
    Political philosophy of Karl Marx's "The Communist Manifesto"
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Контрольная работа №1
  • non-blocking Контрольная работа №2
  • non-blocking Участие в семинарских занятиях
  • blocking Экзамен Лондонского Университета
    The final examination is organised by the University of London as a three hour written exam via VLE platform. The student will be given a choice of twelve questions, out of which exactly three must be answered in any order. Each question must be answered in the form of a free response essay.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Контрольная работа №1 + 0.2 * Контрольная работа №2 + 0.4 * Участие в семинарских занятиях + 0.2 * Экзамен Лондонского Университета


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Hegel: Political Writings / Hegel, G — Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. — 415 с. — ISBN 9780511152108. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=202387&query= (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • Leviathan : The Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiastical and Civill / Hobbes, T — Auckland: The Floating Press, 2009. — 981 с. — ISBN 9781775569343 . — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=441243 (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • On Liberty / Mill, J — New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. — 263 с. — ISBN 9780300130164. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3420105&query=mill+on+liberty (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • The Communist Manifesto / Marx, K — New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. — 229 с. — ISBN 9780300123012. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3420865&query=Marx%2C+Karl (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • The Social Contract and The First and Second Discourses / Rousseau, J-J — New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. — 327 с. — ISBN 9780300129434. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3420030&query= (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • Thomas Hobbes's Conception of Peace: Civil Society and International Order: монография / Jaede, M — Cham: Palgrave Pivot, 2018. — 114 с. — ISBN 978-3-319-76066-7. — URL: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-76066-7 (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration / Locke, J — New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. — 377 с. — ISBN 9780300129182. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3420119&query= (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • A History of Modern Political Thought: The Question of Interpretation / Browning, G — Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. — 439 с. — ISBN 9780199682287. — URL: https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199682287.001.0001/acprof-9780199682287?rskey=ditXGf&result=1 (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • Philosophy: the Basics / Warburton, N — London: Routledge, 2012. — 200 с. — ISBN: 9781317813026. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1356359&query=philosophy+reader (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • Political Philosophy : An Historical Introduction / White, M — New York: Oxford University Press USA - OSO, 2012. — 442 с. — ISBN 9780199860517. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=978154&query=political+philosophy (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy / Klosko, G — Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. — 856 с. — ISBN 9780199238804. — URL: https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199238804.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199238804 (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • The Primacy of the Political : A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the French and American Revolutions / Howard, Dick — New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. — 417 с. — ISBN 9780231509756. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=908511&query=history+political+thought (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.