PHIL 332 A: History of Modern Political Philosophy

Spring 2024
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm / SAV 156
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

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PHIL 332: History of Modern Political Philosophy

Spring 2024

Instructor: José J. Mendoza  


Office: Savery Hall 385

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 4:30-5:30pm


Course Description

This course is designed as a broad introductory survey to some of the principal authors, ideas, concepts, and problems found in the history of modern political philosophy.


Meeting Time and Location:

Monday and Wednesday, 2:30-4:20pm, in Savery Hall 156


Required Texts

All Texts will be available on Canvas.


Reading Schedule

WEEK ONE (Mar 25th and Mar 27th)

Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince and Discourses on Livy (selections) 

WEEK TWO (April 1st and April 3rd)

Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan (selections)

WEEK THREE (April 8th and April 9th)

John Locke: Second Treatise of Government (selections)

Charles Montesquieu: Spirit of the Laws (selections)

WEEK FOUR(April 15th and April 17th)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract and The Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (selections)

WEEK FIVE (April 22th and April 24th)

David Hume: "Of the First Principles of Government"; "Of the Origin of Government"; and "Of the Original Contract"

WEEK SIX (April 29th and May 1st)

Publius (a.k.a. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay): The Federalist Papers (selections)

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

Edmund Burke: "Reflections on the Revolution in France"

WEEK SEVEN (May 6th and 8th)

Marie-Olympes de Gouges: "Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens"

Mary Wollstonecraft: "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman"

WEEK EIGHT (May13th and May 15th)

Immanuel Kant: "On the Common Saying: 'This May be True in Theory, but it does not Apply in Practice'"

WEEK NINE (May 20th and May 22nd)

Jeremy Bentham: "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation"

John Stuart Mill: "On Liberty" and "On the Subjection of Women"

WEEK TEN (May 27th and May 29th)

Karl Marx: "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy" (selections); "Alienated Labor"; "Critique of the Gotha Program" (selections) and The Communist Manifesto



Reading Quizzes (40% of course grade or 1.6 of the 4.0 total)

Two Writing Assignments (60% of course grade or 2.4 of the 4.0 total)


Grading Scale

(roughly each 1% increment between grades is equivalent to 0.1)

A          95% = 4.0

B          85% = 3.0

C          75% = 2.0

D         65% = 1.0

At the end of the quarter I will convert your course grade from a percentage to the UW 4-point scale using this metric: 95% and up is 4.0; 94% is 3.9; 93% is 3.8; etc.  Each 1% step is a 0.1 step on the UW 4-point scale. So an 86.1%, e.g., would give you a 3.1 on the UW scale. 85.5% rounds up to 86% (and thus 3.1), but 85.49% does not. At the bottom of the scale, however, 60% also rounds up to 0.7. See image below.



Catalog Description:
Examination of major political philosophies from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century, with attention to the underlying philosophical methods and foundations.
GE Requirements Met:
Social Sciences (SSc)
Writing (W)
Last updated:
February 28, 2024 - 8:49 am