PLSC 300B: Politics & the Arts
M 4:15pm / LSC
This course explores a question: what is the relationship between politics and the arts? We can see that the greatest political thinkers, from Plato to Baudrillard, wrote extensively about the arts. But political philosophy was not the only field that explored the relationship between politics and art. We can see that artists also imbued their works with a political message. Given the overlap between politics and art, it seems only natural that the two should be explored together: politics as a form of art or art as a form of politics. Students will explore a selection of political philosophers from antiquity to the present. We will also observe examples of the arts themselves, including drama, visual art, dance and performance art. The final project for this course can take one of two forms: a formal research paper, or an artistic project in visual art, creative writing, or the performing arts.
PLSC 301: Political Justice
Mr. Tang Abomo, SJ
W 4:15pm / LSC
Aristotle defines human beings as political animals. But unlike other animals whose social organization is motivated by the gregarious instinct of self-preservation, human beings build their political community following the requirements of reason, which alone allows us to discern the good from the evil, the unjust from the unjust (Aristotle, Politics, 1253a10-17). Justice, therefore, appears to be an ontological feature of any political entity. What is justice and what are its requirements? The variety of answers to this question points to the fact that the notion of justice is far from achieving unanimity even among political scientists. The goal of this course is to introduce students to competing conceptions of justice. It is a history of political thought inviting students to engage critically with philosophical writings and contextual political issues. Our approach will be thematic rather than chronological. Writings by Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, the Just War Tradition, Marx, Walzer, Hollenbach, and Rawls will be examined.
PLSC 304: Ancient Political Thought
W 4:15pm / LSC
The ancient Greeks were the first people to investigate rationally what is today called "multi-culturalism"--the multiplicity and variety of the "ways" of human life. In Greece we discover the beginnings of an enterprise which came to be known as "political philosophy," which can be defined as the investigation into the various ways of life, with an eye toward determining the best way of life for human beings. The best or most appropriate way of life for human beings is the way most in accordance with human nature, and with the nature of the world. Political philosophy is associated above all with one man, its founder, Socrates. We will be concerned chiefly with him, through an intensive study of Plato’s Republic. But we will also consider two classical alternatives to (or variants on) the Socratic enterprise portrayed by Plato: Thucydides, a historian, and Aristotle, a student of Plato and the man usually regarded as the founder of political science properly understood. Both have much to teach about the deepest issues of concern to human beings, then or now. We will also consider a play about communism by Aristophanes, Socrates’ contemporary. This is a combined graduate-undergraduate course.
PLSC 310B: Catholic Political Thought
T 4:15pm / LSC
Is it the business of government to persecute heretics? Does natural law prohibit homosexuality? Should tax dollars be spent to support religious schools? In this course we will examine the answers given to controversial questions like these by some of the greatest thinkers in the Catholic tradition of political thought. The Roman Catholic Church is arguably the most ancient institution still existing in Western civilization and over the past two millennia it has developed a sophisticated body of thought about the right ordering of political affairs. This course surveys that body of thought. The problems to be discussed include religious pluralism, moral decay, natural law, distributive justice, political obligation, war, and peace. Both classical and contemporary texts will be examined. Students of every faith and no faith are encouraged to enroll.