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Introduction to Political Philosophy


Admission requirements

There are no prerequisites for this course. Successful completion of this course will grant access to most 200-level courses tagged with Human Interaction (especially the Philosophy track), Global Justice, Political Arts, and World Politics. If in doubt, please contact the course instructor for clarification.


This introductory political philosophy course is designed to help us become more critical political thinkers and more reflective political actors by addressing some of the most fundamental questions about politics, such as:

 What are the distinguishing features of “political action”?
 How can we develop the critical skills we need as democratic citizens?
 What is the impact of socio-economic inequality on political equality?
 How can individual liberties work not only as guarantees of freedom but also as obstacles to it?
 How should we understand our relationship to the state and with other citizens?
 Do we have an obligation to obey the law?
 Why should we care about justice?

Drawing from a wide array of theoretical sources of political significance—from Western and non-Western traditions, from ancient to modern thought, from foundational to critical ideas—this course encourages us to engage and evaluate the assigned readings as political interventions: as texts that have grappled with and changed the terms of the debate at the time of their writing, and that can help us understand, re-think, and re-articulate the terms of our contemporary political debates. Thus, as we develop own interpretations and critical assessments of these works, we shall also be aiming to seek meaningful connections to the questions and problems that challenge our current political landscape. By inquiring into and contextualising our own political views and values, we can hope to become more reflective and conversant citizens.

Course objectives

The more preparation, thought, and energy you put into the course, the more everyone will get out of it. That said, you should complete the course with at least the following achievements:

 a lively understanding of the central themes, concepts, and traditions in political philosophy;
 a deep appreciation of the range and diversity of the sources of political philosophy;
 a keen awareness of the intellectual dialogue among and across the theorists studied;
 a clear framework through which to apply philosophical insights to political analysis; and
a critical grasp of text, context, and subtext when engaging with political philosophy.


Please see the LUC website:

Mode of instruction

Seminars (two 2-hour sessions per week, Weeks 1 – 7) will form the main body of this course, and a blackboard site will support our in-class discussion and host virtual conversations out of class. Do check our course site regularly for up-to-date reading assignments, multi-media material, and announcements. For further details of how the course will proceed, see sections below on “Assessment” and “Weekly overview”.

Assessment method

  1. Engaged understanding of course material: assessed through In-class participation (20% of final grade): Weeks 1 – 7 (Ongoing)
  2. Personalised development of philosophical thinking and writing skills:assessed through Response papers (1-page reflection on at least 2 pieces of the assigned texts per seminar, totaling 10 for the course: 20% of final grade): Weeks 2 – 6 (Due by 09:00 on days with class)
  3. Collective contextualisation of political philosophical concepts: assessed through Group presentation (6 groups, each presenting once for 20 minutes; 20% of final grade) :Week 7
  4. Independent articulation and appreciation of course content: assessed in Final essay (2500 – 3000 words; 40% of final grade): due Week 8 (Friday at 09:00)


This course is supported by a BlackBoard site

Reading list

There is no set textbook for the course. Assigned readings will be made available on blackboard and at the LUC e-library. While many of the primary texts are in the public domain, you may wish to purchase your own hard copies for future reference and reflection.


This course is only open for LUC The Hague students.

Contact information

If you have any preliminary questions about the course, please e-mail Dr. Cissie Fu at [].

Weekly Overview

Block schedule Course topic Formal assessment (per student)
Week 1Origins and Foundations of Political Philosophy: Class participation
Week 2 Power and Authority: Response papers x 2, Class participation
Week 3 Political Obligation and Civil Disobedience Response papers x 2, Class participation
Week 4 Freedom and Liberty Response papers x 2, Class participation
Week 5 Equality and Diversity Response papers x 2, Class participation
Week 6 Democracy and Citizenship Response papers x 2, Class participation
Week 7 Exploring Ideologies Group presentation x 1, Class participation
Week 8 [Reading week – no classes], Final essay x 1

Preparation for first session

There is no preparation required for our first meeting, but you are advised to begin reading Antigone by Sophocles in preparation for the close-reading workshop in our second session. An online introduction to and translation of the play is accessible at [].