Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Political Science


Political Science 227. Modern Political Theory

This course begins with reflection on modernity and examines a select number of modern political thinkers whose ideas have in part, and effectively, shaped the way we live our lives, understand the meanings, and, define the purposes of our social, political, and, economic involvements. The nature of modern politics, the autonomy, the sovereignty, and also, the alienation of the Enlightened individual, also the ideal of democracy and its modern enemies are among concerns that lead the path of our inquiry. Throughout this course we read Emmanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill on Enlightenment, Utilitarianism and Individualism. Also Thomas Hobbes tells us about the "scientific" amorality of Modern/Realist Politics and underlines the centrality of power to it. Likewise, Carl Schmitt articulates the concept of sovereignty (we will see the service that his articulation offers to both Fascism and Conservatism) and "presents" the structure of the Modern/Realist Politics. Karl Marx discloses the secret, and the danger, of the Capitalist mode of social life and Hannah Arendt investigates the existence, or rather the absence, of conditions necessary to humane life in Modern time.