Introduction to Social & Political Philosophy
PHIL 207 Section I 01
|Term:||Fall, 2007 (August - December)
|Revision:||17 My 07
|Class Time:||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
2115 Bobcat Drive
Ely, NV 89301
- (775) 289-3589 (office)
(775) 289-3599 (college fax)
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 0-486-42465-0
Bible, any English translation
People, Nation, 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 retail outlet of choice.
eFollett is at
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- 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 others
In order to accurately measure competency in these outcomes, various instructional and
diagnostic elements are employed. These are described below.
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 list:
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 societies.
- 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 society
- (How) Can Church and State be Separated? (alt. How to have Ethics without Morals)
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 12th).
I must approve the choice of final topics. You may submit a final topic any time after
September 29th, 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, that date is
December 3rd. I will accept the final paper any time after November 21st.
NOTE about Due Dates:
All of the items are due on the day of the week (Monday, Friday) specified in the above
paragraphs. If the numeral dates do not match the day of the week given, it is the
day of the week that is correct.
||Date of Earliest Acceptance
|Topic for In-Depth Paper
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
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,
||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:
If you determine that you wish to drop the course prior to its conclusion, it is necessary for you to
officially drop, either online through the college's website, or by visiting one of our college campuses and submitting a drop form.
Any student who does not officially drop will receive a grade at the conclusion of the course. These grades will be based on
the number of points that you have accumulated (see above).
If you do not officially drop the course as described above, by taking this class you agree that your "last date of attendance" for
official purposes will be the last day of this course. Since this may affect your financial aid, it behooves you to drop officially
or to complete the entire course.
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
Here is the course schedule. If you get behind it may prove difficult to catch up.
||Topics and Readings
|August 27 - 31
||What is Ethnicity?
||PN&S, chapters 1 - 2
|September 3 - 7
||The Greek Republic(s)
||Republic, books I, II, V
|September 10 - 14
||The Greek Republic(s)|
|Republic, books VII - IX
|September 17 - 21
||The Concept of Nation
||PN&S, chapters 3 - 4
|September 24 - 28
||Excerpts from the Bible
|October 1 - 5
||Religion and State
||Q&W, Introduction, chapters 1 - 2
|October 8 - 12
||Women in Societies
||Q&W, chapter 4;|
"Tragedy of Women's Emancipation"
Excerpts from the Bible
|October 15 - 19
||Socialism and Communism
||"Manifesto of the Communist Party"
|October 22 - 26
||Socialism vs. Capitalism
"The Proletariat and the Revolution
"...Rights of the Working..."
|October 29 - November 2
||Nationalism and National Identity
||PN&S, chapters 5 - 6|
|November 5 - 9
||Foundations of American Society
||"...View of the Rights of British America"|
"Live Free or Die"
"The Rights of Man
Declaration of Independence
America, chapter 2
|November 12 - 16
||National Identity in Multicultural Society
||PN&S, chapter 7|
America, chapters 3 - 5
|November 19 - 23
||Self-Determination and Society
||PN&S, chapters 8 - 9
|November 26 - 30
||US Conservative Ideology
||Slander, chapters 1, 2, 7, 8, conclusion
|December 3 - 7
||US Liberal Ideology
||America, chapters 7 - 9
Online readings will supplement most weeks' material.
The course ends on December 7th, 2007.
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 August 31st, 2007.
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
All lessons are © 2005, 2007 Frank Daniels
and are Licensed to Great Basin College