GOVT1001: INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
The aim of this introductory course in Political Philosophy is to initiate a discussion on some basic concepts in political discourse, including justice, rights, ethics, political obligation, notions of the social contract, freedom, democracy, authority, power and the state. The approach is to examine the epistemological and ontological bases and historiography of Western political philosophy as well as to trace the historical debate, through a review of a selection of important Western philosophers, from the Greek city states, through the middle ages to the European Renaissance, and to conclude by looking at some of the major theoretical positions which emerged out of the revolutions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Europe and the European diaspora. The philosophical roots and expressions of racism, a main branch of modern western philosophy, which is ignored as such by mainstream scholars, will be included as a closeted stream of the modern west. The direction in which the debate will proceed throughout this course will be shaped and guided by a radical critique of Western political philosophy and its historiography by non‐European philosophers in the European colonial and former colonial empire as well as by European scholars critical of aspects of Western philosophy.