This course offers an introduction to the history of (modern) political thought. We will discuss texts from some of the most influential political theorists, beginning with the social contract tradition. We will 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 On the Social Contract, Wollstonecraft’s TheVindication of the Rights of Woman, and The Communist Manifesto 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, Wollstonecraft, Marx & Engels).
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: BA Filosofie
Filosofie, BA1 – BA Plus-traject
Filosofie, BA1 – Standaardtraject
See: Roosters minoren FGW
- Minor Ethiek, filosofie en cultuur: Filosofie van het menselijk handelen
Mode of instruction
Class attendance is required.
Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours
Attending lectures: (13 x 3 hours): 39 hours
Assessment: (2 x 3 hours): 6 hours
Preparation lectures / study of compulsory literature: 47 hours
Preparation exam(s): 48 hours
Written mid-term exam (40%)
Written final exam (60%)
The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests.
The resit consists of one written examination for all parts at once (100%). No separate resits will be offered for mid-term tests. The resit covers the entire course content and the mark will replace all previously earned marks for subtests.
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Blackboard will be used for:
Required texts and recommended editions:
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan. Preferred edition: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, “On the Social Contract.” The Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Trans. John T. Scott. Chicago: Chicago University Press (2012).
Tucker (ed.), The Marx-Engels Reader, second edition (Norton, 1978).
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men and a Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Hints, Cambridge University Press 1995.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website
Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
Registration Studeren à la carte