Course Objectives

PHL 370: Social and Political Philosophy


The principal aim of this course is to furnish the student with an understanding of contemporary political philosophy as it frames public political discussion in our society. As cities are a locus of many of the deepest and most interesting political questions, we will pay special attention to the application of political philosophy to to problems in the urban context. A student who successfully completes the course requirements will thus achieve familiarity with the principal concepts and approaches employed by philosophers and political theorists in their work on current political problems, and will have gained an understanding of how those concepts and approaches inform some of the most pressing and important political issues of the day.

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. actively and regularly practiced stewardship by taking responsibility for and executing daily class preparation.
8. demonstrated awareness of civic engagement, as represented by the application of moral and political philosophical concepts to concrete problems of urban life.

Outcomes 4 and 8 are measured by performance on the Term Paper. Outcome 7 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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