Introduction to Social & Political Philosophy
PHIL 207Section I 01
||Spring, 2009 (January - May)
||01 De 08
||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 retail outlet of choice.
- 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 7.2 or higher, or Firefox,
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
WebCampus atmosphere. The course assumes that you either are familiar with
WebCampus or will attend a WebCampus orientation in your area to become
familiar with WebCampus.
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. I will
accept the paper any time on or after the Friday of Week 3. 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
Wherever issues exist, you must present both (all) sides of
the issues fairly -- presenting them in language that that
opinion's supporters would use and without bias against any of them. 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 society relate?
- (How) Can Church and State be Separated? (alt. How to have Ethics without
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. I must approve the choice of final
topics. You may submit a final topic any time on or after the Friday of Week 4,
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. I will accept the final
paper any time on or after April 1st.
Contact Note:Never -- under any circumstances -- try to use WebCampus
e-mail to contact the instructor. I have deactivated WebCampus mail for myself
and have removed it from the course. If you try to contact me that way, I
will not receive your e-mail. Please use only "regular" e-mail, and
write to me to the address indicated above.
Calendar Note:NOTE about Spring Break:
semesters, there is a one week break in "live" and IAV classes. This class
ignores all holidays and continues straight through the break. Two lessons will
appear during that week just as in any other week. This paragraph does not
apply during Fall semesters.
NOTE about Due Dates:
Each week of the semester starts on
Saturday and ends on Friday. The semester consists of sixteen
consecutive weeks. Without exception, one lesson is posted each of the first
fifteen weeks. Therefore, if you are unable to determine what week we are on,
look at the number of the current lesson's file name.
All of the items are due on the day of the week (Monday, Friday) specified in
the above paragraphs. If any numeral dates are given, the numerical dates are
secondary and are provided only as a convenience. If a numerical date or dates
does not match the day of the week given, it is the day of the week that is
Each week's discussion of course material given in the lessons is due
at 5PM on the Monday after the lesson appears.
||Date of Earliest Acceptance
||Friday of Week 3
||Friday of Week 6
|Topic for In-Depth Paper
||Friday of Week 4
||Friday of Week 7
||Monday of Week 15 |
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:
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.
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
||What is Ethnicity?
||PN&S, chapters 1 - 2
||The Greek Republic(s)
||Republic, books I, II, V
||The Greek Republic(s)|
|Republic, books VII - IX
||The Concept of Nation
||PN&S, chapters 3 - 4
||Excerpts from the Bible
||Religion and State
||Q&W, Introduction, chapters 1 - 2
||Women in Societies
||Q&W, chapter 4;|
"Tragedy of Women's Emancipation"
from the Bible
||Socialism and Communism
||"Manifesto of the Communist Party"
||Socialism vs. Capitalism
"The Proletariat and the Revolution
"...Rights of the
||Nationalism and National Identity
||PN&S, chapters 5 - 6|
||Foundations of American Society
||"...View of the Rights of British America"|
"Live Free or
"The Rights of Man
Declaration of Independence
||National Identity in Multicultural Society
||PN&S, chapter 7|
America, chapters 3 - 5
||Self-Determination and Society
||PN&S, chapters 8 - 9
||US Conservative Ideology
||Slander, chapters 1, 2, 7, 8, conclusion
||US Liberal Ideology
||America, chapters 7 - 9 |
Online readings will supplement most weeks' material.
The course ends on the Monday of week 16.
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 5PM on the Friday of week 1. 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 WebCampus account from Pat Phillips at (775) 753-3511 or by
writing to the Tech Desk, and
familiarize yourself with the WebCampus 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 WebCampus). If you have access to
WebCampus but cannot get to the lesson by Friday of week 1, write to me via
- 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, 2008 Frank Daniels
and are Licensed
to Great Basin College