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Political Philosophy from Machiavelli to Marx




Admissions requirements

History of Philosophy

Note: students who succesfully completed Political Philosophy: Freedom, Toleration, Property in 2017-2018 may not enroll in this course.


In this course students are introduced to some of the great works in the canon of western political philosophy. On the basis of selections of the primary texts from Machiavelli to Marx, supported by a modest amount of secondary literature, we survey some of the lasting justifications of political institutions in the western tradition, as well as important contributions to the analysis of political concepts such as legitimacy, freedom, and justice. During the seminars emphasis will be placed on conceptual analysis and the interpretation of texts, skills that will be of particular use to students interested in pursuing the minor ‘Philosophy' and those enrolled in the major ‘Human Diversity’.

Course objectives

After successful completion of the course students are able to:

  • reproduce the main arguments of major political philosophers from Machiavelli to Marx.

  • reflect philosophically on a range of political issues.

  • critically read, analyze, and interpret difficult texts.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Seminars. This is not a lecture-based course and the majority of instruction will be in the form of seminar discussion. This means it is imperative that students prepare for the classes by carefully studying the required readings, as reflected in the course assessment criteria.


Participation: 15%
Presentation (in pairs): 15%
Midterm paper (1500 words): 30%
Written examination with multiple choice and short essay questions: 40%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

All readings will be made available on blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Laurens van Apeldoorn