Introduction to Social & Political Philosophy

Internet Based

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:Frank Daniels
Instructor e-mail address: You need to know this!
Frank Daniels
Great Basin College Ely Branch Campus
2115 Bobcat Drive
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 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 this location.

Class Conditions:

  1. You must be using a Windows-based system.
  2. You must have your own access to the Internet through a commercial provider and know how to login to your account.
  3. You must have the access software installed and working. This class does not teach how to set up the access software.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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 --

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 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.
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.

Due Dates

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.

Paper Date of Earliest Acceptance Due Date
Response/Reaction Paper September 21st October 5th
Topic for In-Depth Paper September 29th October 12th
In-Depth Report November 21st December 3rd

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.


The class is graded on participation and the various assignments, as follows:
Class participation Notice how important this is! 30 points total
Response Paper 20 points
Final Topic Submitted and Approved on time 10 points (this is all-or-nothing!!)
Final Report 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:

A 90
B+ 85
B 80
C+ 75
C 70
D+ 65
D 60
F 0

Withdrawal Policy:

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.

Academic Integrity:

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 probation.

Here is the course schedule. If you get behind it may prove difficult to catch up.

Week 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)
Part Two
Republic, books VII - IX
September 17 - 21 The Concept of Nation PN&S, chapters 3 - 4
September 24 - 28 Religious States 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 "May Day"
"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.

Getting started:

  1. Purchase the books ahead of time. If you are not in Elko, it may take up to ten days to get your books.
  2. Have your Internet access installed and ready.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. Read the material for week 1 and comment to the list about it.
  6. As you finish the assignments, e-mail me, telling me that you have completed them (so that I will know to expect them soon).
  7. You should wait until the due dates are approaching to mail the papers, (see above).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
Good luck!

All lessons are © 2005, 2007 Frank Daniels
and are Licensed to Great Basin College