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Political Philosophy Major

Principal Advisor:

Professor John Robertson
541 Hall of Languages
Phone: 315-443-5826


Political Philosophy is reflective thought on group activity. It differs from Political Science in that it is a conceptual inquiry, while Political Science is a more empirical and practical application of that inquiry. The program enables students to pursue studies using the resources of both the Philosophy Department and the Political Science Department. Students take coursework in ethics, political theory, the history of political thought, law, and human nature. Some other topics of study include governmental structures and their ideal implementation, political behavior, civil liberties, the relationship between individuals and governments, and the philosophy of law.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Philosophy

The program requires a total of thirty credits. Of these, twelve credits must be selected from the following courses:

    * PHI 107, Theories of Knowledge and Reality (formerly PHI 187)
    * PHI 317/PSC 373, Social Contract Tradition
    * PHI 417/PSC 382, Contemporary Political Philosophy
    * PSC 125, Introduction to Political Theory

In addition, students must choose two of the following four areas, and take nine credits in each: 1) political thought, 2) law, 3) ethics and politics, 4) human nature and political theory. Each course selection must be approved by a Political Philosophy advisor. The courses listed below satisfy these area requirements. However, additional courses in Philosophy or Political Science, such as selected topics courses, may be approved, as may certain courses in other departments such as History or Sociology, as well as appropriate courses given outside of Arts and Sciences. Each Political Philosophy student must therefore consult with the advisor about course selections each semester. The examples are:

   1. Political Thought:
          * ECN 315 History of Economic Thought
          * PHI 418/618 Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche
          * PSC 327/HST 342 Modern American Political Thought
          * PSC 326/HST 383 Foundations of American Political Thought
          * PSC 371 Democratic Theory and Politics
          * PSC 372 Marxist Theory
   2. Law:
          * ECN 575/LAW 733 Law and Economics
          * HIST 381 Historical Foundations of Modern Law
          * PSC 324 Constitutional Law I
          * PSC 325 Constitutional Law II
          * PSC 352 International Law
          * PSC/WSP 374 Law and Society
          * PSC 375 Philosophy of Law
   3. Ethics and Politics:
          * ANT 483/683 Social Movement Theory
          * ECN 558 U.S. Poverty/Discrimination
          * GEO 315 Science, Society & Environmental Conflict
          * PHI 343 Philosophy of Education
          * PHI/PSC 379 American Slavery & the Holocaust
          * PHI 393 Contemporary Ethics
          * PHI 422/622 Twentieth Century French and German Philosophy
          * PHI 493 Contemporary Ethical Issues
          * PSC/WSP 356 Political Conflict
          * PSC 376 Revolution and Civil Violence
   4. Human Nature and Political Theory:
          * PHI 197 Human Nature
          * PHI 377 Philosophy of Psychology
          * PHI/SOS 575 Philosophy of Social Science
          * PSC/WSP 319 Gender and Politics
          * PSC 337 Political Psychology
          * SOC 335/635 Political Sociology
          * WSP 301 Feminist Theory

Career Opportunities:

Related career avenues include international relations, law, governmental work, social service, and business.

Graduate Study:

This degree provides an excellent background for graduate work in many areas, including political science and law.