This course offers an introduction to the history of modern political thought. We will discuss texts from some of the most important modern political theorists, beginning with the social contract tradition. We’ll study central problems and concepts in political philosophy, such as the state, sovereignty, freedom, equality, political legitimacy, obligation, etc.
Texts that we will study include (selections from) Hobbes’s Leviathan, Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, Rousseau’s Social Contract, J.S. Mill’s On Liberty, and The German Ideology by Marx & Engels.
This course aims to provide an introduction to the work of some of the most important theorists in modern political thought (e.g. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill).
Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of :
central problems and concepts in the history of modern political thought, such as the state, sovereignty, freedom, equality, political legitimacy, obligation, etc.;
selections of primary texts (e.g. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill) and some secondary literature.
Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:
read and obtain a basic grasp of primary texts in the history of political philosophy;
answer short questions on individual primary and secondary texts;
answer longer comparative questions;
answer longer questions of a textual/interpretative nature.
See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2014-2015, BA Wijsbegeerte (BA Plus-traject of Standaardtraject), eerste jaar.
See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2014-2015, minor Ethiek, politiek en cultuur: filosofie van het menselijk handelen
See Timetables Philosophy 2014-2015 , Timetable Undergraduate Courses in English
Mode of instruction
Total course load (5 ECTS credits x 28 hrs): 140 hrs
Attending lectures (2 hrs per week x 14 weeks): 28 hrs
Time for studying the compulsory literature (5 hrs per week x 14 weeks): 70 hrs
Time for preparing for exams: 36 hrs
Time for making exams: 6 hrs
Written examination with essay questions (40%)
Written examination with essay questions (60%)
One resit will be offered, covering the entire course content. Any student who did not take the first examinations (both mid-term and final) cannot take the resit.
Blackboard will be used for posting course information and possibly for posting texts.
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, revised student edition (Cambridge University Press, 1996).
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, Cambridge University Press (1988).
OR alternatively, this edition: John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, Dover Thrift (2002).
Rousseau, Basic Political Writings, second edition (Hackett, 2012).
Tucker (ed.), The Marx-Engels Reader, second edition (Norton, 1978).
J.S. Mill, ‘On Liberty’ and Other Writings, Cambridge University Press (1989). An electronic version of this text will be made available on Blackboard.
Exchange students and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs