General Information

2:00-4:45, Tuesday
Dr. Hank Edmondson
A & S 206
Phone: 478-445-0943 (off)
7065646822 (cell)
Fall 2005
Office Hours: Tu, Th 11:00-12:30 Th, 9:00-11:00, or by appointment
Often, the quickest way to get in touch with me, other than office hours, is by e-mail.  

Course Objectives:
The purpose of this course is to study the important political ideas that have shaped our world. Political Theory I covers the ideas dating from the Greek philosophers until the end of the Middle Ages. A course such as this should acquaint you both with great thinkers and great ideas. Many of the great thinkers are represented by your text readings. The great ideas include ideas of justice, legitimacy, statesmanship, tyranny, democracy, law, political change, and war. In addition, this course provides the opportunity for you to develop your academic skills of reading, analytical and critical thinking, research, and verbal articulation. These objectives will be assessed by your written work and your in-class discussion.

Required Texts/Readings:
The Republic by Plato
Gorgias by Plato
The Politics by Aristotle
The City of God by Saint Augustine
The Political Ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Utopia by Thomas More
Reserve Reading (see below) 

We will be seeing several films, either the whole film or in part, to help us better to understand the principles we are studying. The film selections as posted may change at the caprice of the instructor.

In-class participation: 1/4
Mid-term: 1/4
Comprehensive Final Exam: 1/4
Research Paper: 1/4
If exams are not taken at the schedule time, you will receive a “0” for that exam unless you have made acceptable arrangements with the instructor at least several days before hand. “Emergency” situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Essays will be graded on the basis of…
…substance, that is, how well you cover the important material and ideas
…clarity,  that is, how well you cover those ideas
…organization, that is, how well you arrange your material
…relevance, that is, how well you can explain why these ideas are meaningful today.

Research Paper:
The research paper should be at least 12 double-spaced, 12 pt font, pages in length and should employ either footnotes or endnotes. Guidelines for formatting are available in the GC&SU library or from Turabian’s Guide or the Chicago Manual of Style. This paper requires you to take some element of the political thought we have studied in this class and to apply that thought to a contemporary world situation. All topics must be approved by the instructor. If you submit your paper to the GC&SU Writing Center, respond to their suggestions, and show evidence that you have done so, your research paper grade will be increased by one half letter grade; e.g. A to A+ or C+ to B, etc. You can contact the Writing Center at:


Requests for Modifications:

Any student requiring instructional modifications due to a documented disability should make an appointment to meet with the instructor as soon as possible. An official letter from GC&SU documenting the disability will be required to receive accommodation.  


Fire Alarms:

In the event of a fire alarm signal students should exit the building in a quick and orderly manner through the nearest hallway exit.  First and second floor classes should exit through ground level exits; third floor classes through nearest stairwell to a ground level exit. Do not use elevator.  Third floor stairwells are areas where disabled people may communicate with rescue workers.  Be familiar with the floor plan and exits of this building.


Class Participation:

Class discussion, including questions, comments, and disagreements, is welcome, but in order to contribute well to discussions, you need to read the material before hand. That way, when you are called upon to discuss the material, you will be able to do so intelligently. NOTE: Please bring your text to school every day, that is, whatever text we happen to be discussing at the time. In a class such as this—political philosophy—meaningful class participation also means that you keep abreast of national and international events through quality newsmagazines or news journals and that you bring that information to class, ready to apply it to our class discussions. You should also be prepared to integrate current events into your exam questions. Each week, current events articles will be added to the reserve reading  section of the on-line version of this syllabus; read these articles and be prepared to discuss them in class and on exams. For that reason, if you should miss more than two class meetings, it will be impossible to make an "A" in the class. If you should miss more than three classes, it will be impossible to make a "B." In some cases, provisions might be possible to make up an absence, but that will be at the instructor's discretion.

Cheating will not be tolerated. It comes in a variety of forms, including plagiarism. If you are unfamiliar with the offence of plagiarism, please ask your instructor. Also, please note that no work done in other classes will be accepted to fulfill requirements in this class. 

Class Schedule
Important Dates
Mid Term Grades Due October 7
Last Day to Drop a Course/Withdraw without Academic Penalty October 11
Classes End December 5
Final Exams December 6-9

Week 1   aug 23 Introduction Plato’s Republic

Week 2   aug 30 Plato’s Republic

Week 3  sept 6 Plato's Republic

Week 4  sept 13 Plato’s Gorgias

Week 5  sept 20 Aristotle’s Politics

Week 6   sept 27 Aristotle Politics FILM (TBA)

Week 7   oct 4 Aristotle’s Politics

Week 8   oct 11  Mid-Term

Week 9  oct 18 Augustine’s City of God

Week 10 oct 25  Augustine’s City of God

Week 11 nov 1  FILM TBA

Week 12 nov 8  Thomas Aquinas’ Political Ideas  

Week 13  nov 15 Brave New World Huxley

Week 14  nov 22 Utopia by Sir Thomas More

Week 15 nov 29  Papers Due, Paper Presentation

Week 16  week of  dec 5 FINAL EXAM

© Hank Edmondson 2012