Introduction to Social & Political Philosophy
PHIL 207Section I 01
||Fall, 2006 (August - December)
||22 Ap 06
||One online lecture weekly, plus readings.
|You should set aside definite times each week to work.
|Instructor e-mail address:
- Frank Daniels
Great Basin College Ely Branch Campus
Ely, NV 89301
- (775) 289-3589 (office)
(775) 289-3599 (college fax)
Textbooks: Plato: The Republic, trans. Benjamin Jowett; Dover
Thrift Editions; ISBN 0-486-41121-4
Qur'an and Woman, by Amina Wadud;
Oxford University Press; ISBN 0-19-512836-2
The Communist Manifesto and
other Revolutionary Writings, ed. Bob Blaisdell, Dover Publications, ISBN
Bible, any English translation
and State: The Meaning of Ethnicity and Nationalism, by Mortimer and Fine;
pub. by I.B. Tauris; ISBN 1-860-64401-5
Slander, by Ann Coulter, Three
Rivers Press, ISBN 1-4000-4952-0
America, by Stewart, Karlin, and
Javerbaum, Warner Books, ISBN 0-446-53268-1
These books may be ordered through your outlet of choice (e.g., Amazon.com).
eFollett is at this
- You must be using a Windows-based system.
- You must have your own access to the Internet through a commercial
provider and know how to login to your account.
- You must have the access software installed and working. This class
does not teach how to set up the access software.
- You must have a Web browser and e-mail. The class assumes you are
using Netscape version 7 or higher or Internet
Explorer version 6 or higher. You need an e-mail account somewhere to
send and receive feedback. The class assumes that you know how to properly use
e-mail and your browser.
- The course requires weekly participation in a discussion group in the
WebCT atmosphere. The course assumes that you either are familiar with WebCT
or will attend a WebCT orientation in your area to become familiar with WebCT.
Class Description:Through readings and discussion, we will study
theories concerning the nature of society and political structure. Readings will
involve the analysis of works by philosophers from classical to modern times.
This course is NOT "self-paced". You must participate in
a weekly discussion and read certain readings. Remember that you have a "live"
instructor who will answer your questions -- this is not a correspondence
Course Objectives:The student will survey elements of various social
and political writings, coming to reach a better understanding of
social/cultural issues. The student should gain an appreciation for different
ideas and their development.
Learning Outcomes:The successful student will be able to --
- relate Platonic/Aristotelian social philosophy and Greek political
structures to those found around the world in the modern day
- examine in detail the elements of Islamic governments, including social
changes within such governments
- compare and contrast the ideals and practices of communism/socialism with
those of capitalistic societies
- explore with competence the concept of "human rights" in modern society
- relate historical events in American history to the surrounding social
issues and the development of the body of laws
- explain the "liberal" political perspective from within
- explain the "conservative" political perspective from within
- explain "moderate" and other political perspectives as they relate to the
In order to accurately measure competency in these outcomes, various
instructional and diagnostic elements are employed. These are described below.
Instructional Methods:Each week, there will be assigned readings
from one or more of our textbooks. The weekly readings (from paper books) will
be mentioned on each week at the top of the lecture page. In addition to those
readings, the "lecture page" will refer to topics for discussion, and possibly
to material related to but different from that in the textbooks, often linking
to other websites. These websites are not controlled by Great Basin College, and
the College does not endorse their content. Students are expected to participate
in the discussions of each week's material and topics.
There will be two class assignments. The first of these will consist of a
short response paper. The response paper must be a two to five page
summary, typed and double spaced, describing what new information you have
learned so far. Explain the material for the response paper in your own words.
What has come out in the course discussion that was new/different/interesting?
What did you find on the websites that the course links to? You may mail the
discussion paper by hand or attach it as an MS Word file to an e-mail. If you
mail it, the paper must be mailed to me at the College (address above) and
postmarked no later than Wednesday of week 6. If you e-mail it, you must
do so no later than 5 PM Pacific Time, on the Friday of week 6. This
semester, the due date is October 7th. I will accept the paper any time
after September 23rd. For the format of the paper, see below.
The second assignment will be a comprehensive look at one of the
weekly topics. Alternatively, you may select a topic from the following
Any time issues exist, you must present both (all) sides of
the issues fairly -- presenting them in language that that
opinion's supporters would use. Feel free to draw conclusions about the issue!
You will not lose points for drawing a particular conclusion, but points will be
deducted if all sides are not presented fairly -- as that group or side would
present their views.
- What are Human Rights? Define government and society in terms of rights.
- What is Equality? Explain in terms of American, Islamic, and dictatorial
- Why does government exist?
- Give a Defense of Totalitarianism
- Give a Defense of Theocracy
- Give a Defense of Monarchy and/or Feudalism
- Can there exist a Nation without a State?
- Describe American Society _apart from_ government. How do government and
- (How) Can Church and State be Separated? (alt. How to have Ethics without
This research paper must cite (and list) three to five
sources. At least two of these must come from outside our textbook(s). The paper
must be at least eight complete length, typed, double spaced. TITLE PAGES,
BIBLIOGRAPHY, and pages consisting mostly of PICTURES do not count toward
the page total. See also below for a description of the paper format. You must
submit a final topic via e-mail by the Friday that ends week 7 (October
13th). I must approve the choice of final topics. You may submit a final
topic any time after September 30th, and one reason that a topic might be
rejected is that others in the class have chosen the same topic. Therefore, it
is best to submit a choice of final topics soon. This final paper must be
received by me (mailed, faxed, or attached) no later than 5PM Pacific Time on
Monday of Week 15. This semester, the due date is December 4th. I
will accept the final paper any time after November 22nd.
NOTE about Spring Break: During Spring semesters, there is a one week
break. This week is not counted as one of the weeks for the course. However, the
next week's lecture will be made available during this week, and students should
feel free to comment on that week's or previous weeks' material. It is a good
time to get caught up! This paragraph does not apply during Fall
||Date of Earliest Acceptance
|Topic for In-Depth Paper
||December 4th |
More About the Papers
Both papers must have 1” side, top, and bottom margins and be typed in a 12
point ("normal looking") font. The first thing I am going to do is check the
length. Short papers will have a letter grade deducted. Your reports should make
sure to deal with the issues involved, not merely repeating historical
materials. Both papers must treat all groups, opinions, and issues
fairly. Your papers will not be graded on style or grammar. They
should be written as well as you are able, however. The papers will be mailed
back to you only if you request them and provide mailing information.
Grades will be based on the successful and timely completion of the
assignments and on participation in the weekly discussion.
Grading:The class is graded on participation and the various
assignments, as follows:
||30 points total
|Final Topic Submitted and Approved on time
||10 points (this is all-or-nothing!!)
||40 points |
Therefore, the total number of points available for the semester is 100
points. The number of points required to obtain each grade is as follows:
The Nevada System of Higher Education expressly forbids all forms of academic
dishonesty, including (but not limited to) all forms of cheating, copying, and
plagiarism. Students who are discovered cheating will be assigned zero points
for the current assignment. If the cheating is believed to be widespread -- to
involve other students and/or to cover more than one assignment or test -- then
all students involved will receive "F" grades for the course and will be brought
to the GBC Academic Officers for prosecution. I will normally recommend that
students found guilty in that instance be placed on one year disciplinary
Here is the course schedule. If you get behind it may prove difficult to
||Topics and Readings
|August 28 - September 1
||What is Ethnicity?
||PN&S, chapters 1 - 2
|September 4 - 8
||The Greek Republic(s)
||Republic, books I, II, V
|September 11 - 15
||The Greek Republic(s)|
|Republic, books VII - IX
|September 18 - 22
||The Concept of Nation
||PN&S, chapters 3 - 4
|September 25 - 29
||Excerpts from the Bible
|October 2 - 6
||Religion and State
||Q&W, Introduction, chapters 1 - 2
|October 9 - 13
||Women in Societies
||Q&W, chapter 4;|
"Tragedy of Women's Emancipation"
from the Bible
|October 16 - 20
||Socialism and Communism
||"Manifesto of the Communist Party"
|October 23 - 27
||Socialism vs. Capitalism
"The Proletariat and the Revolution
"...Rights of the
|October 30 - November 3
||Nationalism and National Identity
||PN&S, chapters 5 - 6|
|November 6 - 10
||Foundations of American Society
||"...View of the Rights of British America"|
"Live Free or
"The Rights of Man
Declaration of Independence
|November 13 - 17
||National Identity in Multicultural Society
||PN&S, chapter 7|
America, chapters 3 - 5
|November 20 - 24
||Self-Determination and Society
||PN&S, chapters 8 - 9
|November 27 - December 1
||US Conservative Ideology
||Slander, chapters 1, 2, 7, 8, conclusion
|December 4 - 8
||US Liberal Ideology
||America, chapters 7 - 9 |
Online readings will supplement most weeks' material.
The course ends on December 8th, 2006.
Starting from scratch:This class is accessed from the Internet.
Therefore, there has to be some initial contact. I need to have you send me
an e-mail message telling me you are ready to begin, and you need to do this
by September 1st, 2006. If you need to find some help to get started, you
can always e-mail or phone me at the college building.
- Purchase the books ahead of time. If you are not in Elko, it
may take up to ten days to get your books.
- Have your Internet access installed and ready.
- Obtain a WebCT account from Pat Phillips at (775) 753-3511 or by writing
to the Tech Desk, and familiarize
yourself with the WebCT environment. The lessons will appear in the Calendar.
- Retrieve your first lesson, which will be posted as a web page (you'll
find a link in the Course Calendar in WebCT). If you have access to WebCT but
cannot get to the lesson by Friday of week 1 (September 1st), write to
me via e-mail!
- Read the material for week 1 and comment to the list about it.
- As you finish the assignments, e-mail me, telling me that you have
completed them (so that I will know to expect them soon).
- You should wait until the due dates are approaching to mail the papers,
- NOTE: Discussion topics will be mentioned at least once per week.
If the class is to work properly, please do not stray "off topic." Do not
be afraid to state your honest opinion.
- The Instructor may choose to participate in the discussion, taking one
side or more than one side of the various issues, often raising questions for
further discussion and reflection. Therefore, do not be concerned about
disagreeing with the instructor on opinion issues, or with other students.
All lessons are © 2005, 2006 Frank Daniels
and are Licensed
to Great Basin College