This course is designed to introduce students to some of the fundamental questions and issues of politics. We will begin by asking what questions should be considered “political,” and why they should be thought of as political questions. As we examine some of those questions, we will also explore some of the answers that careful thinkers in the course of history have proposed for them, and give careful thought to the answers that we ourselves might give.
Though we will devote considerable time and energy to fundamental political questions, we will not spend the entire semester in theorizing. Politics is a practical science, and the provisional answers that we give to the questions we will be considering have real-world implications. Accordingly, we will also consider some of the ways in which answers to these questions are translated into such areas of concern as political behavior, particular types of political systems, relationships among countries, etc.
Student interest will determine some of the areas of concern we consider.