PLS 222 - Intro to Political Theory

Course Description

Introduction to Political Theory examines the foundational questions of normative political theory as developed by political philosophers of the ancient through contemporary periods. The course focuses on a wide array of political and ethical issues. Topics of consideration include: the rights of the individual v. the rights of the community; the nature of human equality and the reality of human inequalities; conceptions of justice put forth by various philosophers; and questions of what it means to achieve freedom in one's social and political life. Students can expect to read almost exclusively from primary sources. Examples of thinkers studied in this course include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Arendt, and Rawls. Group 1 course.

Credit Hours


Contact Hours


Lecture Hours


Recommended Prerequisites or Skills Competencies

Placement into ENG 111

General Education Outcomes supported by this course

Communications - Direct, Critical Thinking - Direct

Other college designations supported by this course

Infused: Writing Intensive

Course Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the core debates and disagreements in the history of political theory.
  • Identify the key normative political ideas of the major thinkers.
  • Learn how to think rigorously about moral and political issues.
  • Develop and use analytical tools for exposing the foundations upon which normative claims rest.
  • Assess the validity of moral and ethical claims.
  • Explain political and social interactions in new ways.
  • Connect the moral questions they confront in their daily lives to broader questions of political philosophy.
Human Dimension:
  • Recognize the personal and societal impact of their moral beliefs.
  • Describe how philosophical paradigms and normative frameworks influence our relationships with others.
Caring - Civic Learning:
  • Apply the normative frameworks studied in this class to their lives as citizens and members of civil society.
  • Discuss the value of justice to reveal the complexities of issues.
Learning How to Learn:
  • Recognize that they generate moral and ethical knowledge through their inquiries and they will recognize the uniquely human responsibility that comes with such potential intellectual and ethical power.
  • Recognize that they have a fundamental interest in seeking out thoughtful and rigorous moral and political analyses.