Course Objectives

PHL 325: Special Topics in Moral and Political Philosophy:

The City in Social and Political Philosophy: Cosmopolitanism


The principal aim of this course is to furnish the student with an understanding of the special place that the ideal of the city has occupied in the formation of the social and political ideals from antiquity to the present. Some times this ideal has functioned as a thought experiment, as in Plato's works. At other times it has functioned as a metaphor for understanding how humans ought to relate to each other, as in the cosmopolitanism of the Stoics. Together we will trace our modern ideal of cosmopolitanism by coming to it first through these historical antecedents. A student who successfully completes the course requirements will thus gain an important, contextualized perspective on how an important strand of contemporary moral political thinking has evolved.

Student Learning Outcomes

Programmatic Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the term, the successful student in this course:

1. Will have demonstrated basic, area-specific knowledge of at least one principal area of investigation in the theory of value (in this case, social and political philosophy).
2. Will have demonstrated advanced communication skills in articulating, defending, and critiquing philosophical standpoints both in speech and in writing.
3. Will have demonstrated advanced critical thinking abilities commensurate with philosophical study, including but not limited to interpretation, analysis, evaluation, argumentation, inference and self-regulation.

Outcomes 1 and 2 are measured by performance on Engaged Reading Assignments and the Term Paper. Outcome 3 is measured by these as well as by class participation.

Urban Leadership Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the term, the successful student in this course will have:

4. demonstrated systems thinking in the Term Paper by applying the concepts and methods of social and political philosophy to theorizing about social and political questions in contemporary urban contexts.
5. actively and regularly practiced civility in class discussions and collaborative group work.
6. actively and regularly practiced collaboration both in small groups and as a class in order to realize the objectives of the course.
7. demonstrated creativity in designing a thesis for the Term Paper.
8. actively and regularly practiced stewardship by taking responsibility for and executing daily class preparation.

Outcomes 4 and 7 are measured by performance on the Term Paper. Outcome 8 is measured by Engaged Reading Assignments and class participation. Outcomes 5 and 6 are measured by class participation.

Disclaimer: The professor will, of course, endeavor to help students achieve these outcomes, but real learning requires substantial effort on the part of the student. Students should therefore not expect to achieve these outcomes without engaging in the sustained, conscientious study and actual work necessary to complete all the class requirements at an adequate or better level. Nor should it be thought that this is possible without due observation of the course policies.

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