Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Undergraduate > Module Outlines

History of Political Thought B: Modernity and its Critics

Module Code: PO2111

Module Name: History of Political Thought B: Modernity and its Critics 2018/19

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures per week; 1 tutorial per fortnight
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Professor Peter Stone
  • Module Prerequisite: PO2110 History of Political Thought A: The Greeks to the Renaissance

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Acquired an overview of the history of political thought, from early modern times to the present
2. Become familiar with major political theorists from that history, such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Marx;
3. Become familiar with some of the major concepts that appear in political theory, such as liberalism, the social contract, and communism;
4. Developed skills at analyzing and critiquing political arguments; and
5. Reflected upon the implications of ideas from the history of political thought for contemporary politics.

Module Learning Aims

This module will introduce students to the history of political thought from the 17th century to the present day.

Module Content

Topics to be covered include liberalism and the social contract; the nature of rights; and existence of “laws of history.”

Back to top

Recommended Reading List

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).

Module Prerequisite

PO2110 History of Political Thought A: The Greeks to the Renaissance

Assessment Details

4 Short Papers: 40% (10% each) 

Final Paper: 60%


Back to top