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Political Philosophy

Political Science
Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

This course gives students a knowledge of some basic concepts in Political Philosophy, makes students know some of the classical authors and also stimulates the debate on contemporary questions in Political Philosophy. So starting by the analysis of three classical texts the course will focus on the reconstruction of the roots of liberalism and in the final part study the possible relevance of liberalism in the contemporary political landscape, starting from the works of the American political philosopher Judith Shklar.

Course Content

1. Reconstruction of the roots of liberalism:

  a) John Locke’s “Second Treatise of Government”

  b) Benjamin Constant’s “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of Moderns”

  c) John Stuart Mill’s “On liberty”

2. Main concepts and elements of political liberalism:

  a) The idea of liberty (and its limits and contradictions)

  b) The role and the definition of individual rights and guarantees

  c) The foundation and justification of private property

  d) The role of the State and that of civil society

  e) The relationship between liberalism and democracy.

3. Possible relevance of liberalism in the contemporary political landscape


Locke, J. (ed. by Ian Shapiro): Two Treatises of Government and A letter concerning toleration, Yale U.P., 2003

Mill , S. , J. (ed. by D. Bromwich & G. Kateb): On Liberty, Yale U.P., 2003

Shklar N. J., The Faces of Injustice, Yale U.P., 1990