Political thought is the study of political theories in relation to nation, power, justice, right, freedom, equality, governance, revolution, etc. This course examines major texts in the history of modern Western political thought that arise between 16th century and 19th century. It was the critical period for the formation of modern political thought and ideologies. Political thinkers such as Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tocqueville, John S. Mill, Karl Marx, as well as the most important modern ideologies like republicanism, liberalism, nationalism and socialism, will be discussed selectively and intensively. The course will focus on understanding the arguments of the original texts and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. We will also analyze the significance of political thought from historical perspective, and illuminate its implication in today’s world.
With an extensive understanding of the Western political thought, students can evaluate Western political system critically and develop their own judgments by consulting relevant historical sources.