What is justice? How should society be governed? What is the good life? Questions like these, while abstract and philosophical, underpin all international political disputes, and understanding them is a first step towards resolving the conflicts inherent in international relations. This course seeks to draw connections between the problems of international politics and the world of political philosophy. It traces the history of political thought, from ancient Greece and its protean ideas of both realism and idealized governance through the hard-nosed politics of Machiavelli and Hobbes and the modernized idealism of Kant and Grotius up to the present-day thinking of such international relations scholars as Morgenthau, Waltz, and Walzer. In doing so, the class explores the connections linking political thinking and events across time, taking lessons from different times and applying them to the problems of today. The course concludes by examining four case studies of real policy problems, including humanitarian intervention, the role of international law, and the invasion of Iraq, through the lens of political theory.
Prerequisites: PG 104.