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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Introduction to Political Philosophy
Module Code TP134
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Semester 2: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Autumn: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Module TeachersIan Leask
Fiachra O'Brolchain
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module will introduce students to important aspects of Western political philosophy, providing them with a critical understanding of the political theories underpinning the contemporary world. The topics to be studied in the module cover the major issues of political philosophy: the ‘State of Nature’; justifications of the political state; the question of who should rule; liberty, property, and distributive justice; human rights; socialism, anarchism, & feminism; the social contract; neo-liberalism; and the environment. Students will gain an understanding of the historical development of central political concepts and traditions, as well as learning about the latest ideas in contemporary political philosophy.

Learning Outcomes

1. comprehend central issues and themes in the history of political philosophy;
2. construct arguments using the conceptual tools of political philosophy and apply these arguments to contemporary issues;
3. understand the wider social, political and cultural significance of these issues and themes;
4. engage in critical analysis and interpretation of important philosophical texts;
5. distinguish the principal positions in political theory;
6. evaluate and independently assess key conceptual ideas and movements in political philosophy;
7. communicate the meaning and evolution of political concepts and present their own arguments and ideas clearly in written form;
8. synthesize a range of concepts and approaches into a unified overview of the field.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study101No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Plato's Republic

Aristotle's "Political Animals"
Virtuous Citizens

Lockean Liberalism
Property Rights and 'Freedom from Interference'

Social Contract
The Rational Agreement of Political Principles?

Marx and Marxism
The Injustice of Capitalism

Mill and the 'Harm Principle'
Can We Do What We Want?

Liberal Egalitarianism
Contracting from Behind the Veil of Ignorance

Restricting Government

The Capabilities Approach
Analyzing Martha Nussbaum's Theories

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayAssessment of specific topic20%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Plato: 1974, Republic, Penguin, Harmondsworth,
  • Aristotle: 2009, Politics, Oxford World Classics, Oxford,
  • John Locke: 1972, Two Treatises of Government,, Oxford World Classics, Oxford,
  • Jonathan Wolff: 1996, An introduction to political philosophy, Oxford University Press,
  • Thomas Hobbes: 1981, Leviathan, Penguin, Harmondsworth,
  • Martha Nussbaum: 2000, Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach, Cambridge University Press,
  • Onora O'Neill: 2000, Bounds of Justice, Cambridge University Press,
  • Robert Nozick: 1974, Anarchy, State, Utopia, Basic Books, New York,
  • John Gray: 1998, Enlightenment's Wake, Routledge, London,
  • K.Marx & F.Engels: 2008, The Communist Manifesto, Oxford University Press,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BAJHBachelor of Arts (BAJH)

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