History of political thought
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Acquire a deep knowledge of the origins and the historical development of the western political thought both in ancient and modern times
- This class will help the students to understand the main themes and authors of the western political thought in relation to the historical contexts.
- Pupils are expected to be able to analyze and interpret past and present national and international political scenarios.
- Students are supposed to elaborate an independent critical textual analysis, and to associate different authors and their political thoughts.
- By analyzing the main authors’ thoughts, students will be able to elaborate clearly and correctly synthetic ideas on the main questions related to modern and contemporary politics.
Course contents summary
The course will focus on an analysis of the origin and development of the main concepts in the ancient and modern Western political thought, by the study of the most significant authors.
The origins of the political thought in the ancient Greece; the political thought of the main greek authors: Socrate, Platone, Aristotele; political thought and right in the roman republic; the roman thought: Polibio and Cicerone; the coming of Christianity: Augustine and Aquinas; Machiavelli; State and sovereignty: Bodin; State of nature, civil society, authority and liberty in Hobbes; Locke’s political thought; Constitution, powers and liberty in Montesquieu; liberty and equality in Rousseau; David Hume; Adam Smith; the American Revolution and “the Federalist”; representation, parties and revolution in Burke; Kant’s political thought; the liberalism: Constant; democracy and liberty in Tocqueville; the communist doctrine of Marx, liberty and representation in Stuart Mill; the thought of the twentieth century: the elitist school (Mosca and Pareto); Carl Schmitt; Max Weber; the totalitarianism.
L.M. Bassani, A. Mingardi, Dalla Polis allo Stato. Introduzione alla Storia del pensiero politico, Giappichelli, Torino 2015 up to page 250.
J.-J. Chevallier, Le grandi opere del pensiero politico, il Mulino, Bologna 1998.
Reading of Machiavelli's The Prince (any edition).
For students of Lettere (6 credits): from the book by Chevallier study eight chapters choice; the reading of Machiavelli's The Prince is not required.
Assessment methods and criteria