|Semester 2 Credit Value:||20|
• To introduce students to political thought as a discipline within the academic study of politics.
• To develop their ability to analyse arguments and to examine fundamental questions of political life in a rational and rigorous fashion.
• To give them a knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts of normative political theory, such as power, authority, democracy, liberty, and rights.
• To provide them with a foundation from which they can go on to take other modules in political thought and political philosophy.
The module is organised around a number of ideas and issues fundamental to political life. It examines concepts and ideas fundamental to our political culture, such as power, authority, democracy, rights and freedom. It also examines the issues and arguments that surround these ideas: Why do human beings need government? How do some people acquire the right to rule others? Why should we suppose that democracy is the best or the uniquely right form of government? Are there limits to what majorities may legitimately impose upon minorities? Do human beings have rights that properly limit the power of governments and majorities? Why should we value freedom and how do we determine when people’s freedom is justifiably curtailed? Is there a general obligation to obey laws and, if there is, are there occasions when we are entitled to disobey them?
Having taken this module, students will have:
• been introduced to political thought as a subject of academic study.
• gained an understanding of the fundamental concepts of normative political theory, such as power, authority, democracy, liberty, and rights.
• secured a foundation from which they can tackle other modules - historical and non-historical - in political thought and political philosophy.
Students will have gained:
1. The skill of analysing concepts and arguments
2. the ability to examine the fundamental issues of politics in a rational and rigorous fashion.
|Graduate Skills Framework Applicable:||Yes|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||22||1:00||22:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Small group teaching||10||1:00||10:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Drop-in/surgery||4||1:00||4:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||1||164:00||164:00||N/A|
Rationale and relationship to learning outcomes: Lectures are designed to introduce students to a subject which, in character as well as content, is wholly new to most students. As well as informing students about the subject-matter of the module, they convey the techniques of analysing concepts and arguments and subjecting claims to rigorous assessment. Seminars are intended to make students grapple with issues of political thought themselves and to develop their analytical and reasoning skills. For this module, essay writing is conceived as a part of learning and skills development as well as a vehicle for assessment.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
An unseen examination is used because requiring students to tackle questions using only their own resources is a good way of testing their understanding of, and skills in, the subject. Students are required to write essays and answer exam questions on different subject-areas of the module to ensure coverage of the syllabus.
Two essays are set partly so that students have a written exercise early on and late on in the semester (thereby focusing their attention throughout) and partly because analysing and arguing on paper are important aspects of the subject. Because of the nature of the subject, two brief essays (1500 words) are more appropriate than one longer essay.
An alternative form of assessment will be set for exchange students from non-English speaking home institutions replacing the examination. The alternative form of assessment is set in accordance with the University Assessment tariff.
Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 15/16. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.
Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.