Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Programmes > Undergraduate > Module Outlines

History of Political Thought A

Module Code: POU22011

Module Name: History of Political Thought A 2023-24

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 1
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures per week; 1 tutorial per fortnight
  • Module Personnel: Prof Peter Stone
  • Module Prerequisite: either POU11012 Introduction to Political Science or POU11022 Politics & Irish Society
  • Module Co-Requisite: POU22012 History of Political Thought B

Module Learning Aims

This module will introduce students to the history of political thought from the time of classical Greece to the Renaissance.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, it is expected that students should have:

  • Acquired an overview of the history of political thought, from ancient Greece until the Renaissance
  • Become familiar with major political theorists from that history, such as Plato, Augustine, and Machiavelli
  • Become familiar with some of the major concepts that appear in political theory, such as democracy, tyranny, and feminism
  • Developed skills at analyzing and critiquing political arguments
  • Reflected upon the implications of ideas from the history of political thought for contemporary politics.

Module Content

Topics to be covered may include the birth of politics in ancient Athens; Plato’s critique of democracy; the rise of Christianity and its implications for politics; and Machiavelli’s political realism.

Back to top

Recommended Reading List (TBC)

Useful introductory readings covering many of the thinkers and concepts included in the module can be found below:

Boucher, David and Kelly, Paul, eds. Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Rawls, John. Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2007.

S. S. Wolin, Politics and Vision, , Expanded Edition, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004  consists of a series of sophisticated interpretative essays. A serious work, well worth close study.

A useful source book for primary texts is:

Classics of Moral and Political Theory, Michael L. Morgan (ed.), Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis (Cambridge,1992).

(This is an excellent collection of, in many cases, the complete texts of the relevant political thinkers).

Assessment Details

3 Short Papers: 45% (15% each)

Final Paper: 55%

Back to top