Sep 29, 2023  
College Catalog 2021-2022 
College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

POLI 267 - Liberal and Conservative Political Theory

This course deals with the liberal and conservative currents(s) running through the Western tradition of political thought from the time of the French Revolution to today.  Its main goal of to provide a solid introduction to these two bodies of philosophical speculation.  Through a close reading of texts and commentaries, we will critically (though empathetically) examine the relevant works of thinkers such as John Locke, Thomas Paine, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, John Henry Newman, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley Jr., Leo Strauss, John Dewey, Friedrich von Hayek, Irving Kristol, Michael Oakshott, and Alasdair MacIntyre.  The focus of our inquiries will be upon topics such as “how should I lead my life?” (ethics), and “how should we lead our lives together?” (politics). Important secondary goals of the course include: familiarizing students with the various “languages” or “idioms” of conservative and liberal political thought; helping students understand the great political debates between conservative and liberals; applying both conservative and liberal political frames/concepts to a range of contemporary “hot-button” social and political issues. As an intermediate-level offering, this course is designed primarily for Political Science majors and non-majors in cognate fields (such as Philosophy) who have some experience in the discipline.  The course has no pre-requisites, however, and is therefore suitable for all students seeking to satisfy an interest in liberal and conservative political thought. Alternate years. (4 Credits)