Essays On Islamic Political Philosophy Major

In the religion of Islam, two words are sometimes translated as philosophyfalsafa (literally "philosophy"), which refers to philosophy as well as logic, mathematics and physics;[1] and Kalam (literally "speech"), which refers to a kind of philosophy based on interpretations of Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism. Islamic philosophy has also been described as the systematic investigation of problems connected with life, the universe, ethics, society, and so on as conducted in the Muslim world.

Early Islamic philosophy began in the 2nd century AH of the Islamic calendar (early 9th century CE) and lasted until the 6th century AH (late 12th century CE). The period is known as the Islamic Golden Age, and the achievements of this period had a crucial influence on the development of modern philosophy and science; for Renaissance Europe, the influence represented “one of the largest technology transfers in world history.”[2] This period began with al-Kindi in the 9th century and ended with Averroes (Ibn Rushd) at the end of 12th century. The death of Averroes effectively marked the end of a particular discipline of Islamic philosophy usually called the Peripatetic Arabic School, and philosophical activity declined significantly in Western Islamic countries such as Islamic Spain and North Africa.

Philosophy persisted for much longer in the Eastern countries, in particular Persia and India where several schools of philosophy continued to flourish: Avicennism, Illuminationist philosophy, Mystical philosophy, and Transcendent theosophy. Ibn Khaldun, in his Muqaddimah, made important contributions to the philosophy of history. Interest in Islamic philosophy revived during the Nahda (awakening) movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and continues to the present day.


By way of introduction Islamic philosophy refers to philosophy produced in an Islamic society.

Islamic philosophy is a generic term that can be defined and used in different ways. In its broadest sense it means the world view of Islam, as derived from the Islamic texts concerning the creation of the universe and the will of the Creator. In another sense it refers to any of the schools of thought that flourished under the Islamic empire or in the shadow of the Arab-Islamic culture and Islamic civilization. In its narrowest sense it is a translation of Falsafa, meaning those particular schools of thought that most reflect the influence of Greek systems of philosophy such as Neoplatonism and Aristotelianism.

It is not necessarily concerned with religious issues, nor exclusively produced by Muslims.[3] Nor do all schools of thought within Islam admit the usefulness or legitimacy of philosophical inquiry. Some argue that there is no indication that the limited knowledge and experience of humans can lead to truth. It is also important to observe that, while "reason" ('aql) is sometimes recognised as a source of Islamic law, this may have a totally different meaning from "reason" in philosophy.

The historiography of Islamic philosophy is marked by disputes as to how the subject should be properly interpreted. Some of the key issues involve the comparative importance of eastern intellectuals such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and of western thinkers such as Ibn Rushd,[4] and also whether Islamic philosophy can be read at face value or should be interpreted in an esoteric fashion. Supporters of the latter thesis, like Leo Strauss, maintain that Islamic philosophers wrote so as to conceal their true meaning in order to avoid religious persecution, but scholars such as Oliver Leaman disagree.[5]

Formative influences[edit]

Islamic philosophy as the name implies refers to philosophical activity within the Islamic milieu. The main sources of classical or early Islamic philosophy are the religion of Islam itself (especially ideas derived and interpreted from the Quran) and Greek philosophy which the early Muslims inherited as a result of conquests, along with pre-Islamic Indian philosophy and Persian philosophy. Many of the early philosophical debates centered around reconciling religion and reason, the latter exemplified by Greek philosophy.

Opposition to philosophy[edit]

Some Muslims oppose the idea of philosophy as un-Islamic. The popular Salafist website (supervised by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid of Saudi Arabia) declares philosophy to be an "alien entity":

The terminology of Islamic philosophy did not emerge as a branch of knowledge that is taught in the curriculum of Islamic studies until it was introduced by Shaykh Mustafa ‘Abd al-Razzaaq – the Shaykh of al-Azhar – as a reaction to western attacks on Islam based on the idea that Islam has no philosophy. But the fact of the matter is that philosophy is an alien entity in the body of Islam.[6]

The fatwa claims that "the majority of fuqaha’ [experts in fiqh] have stated that it is haraam to study philosophy, and lists some of these:

  • Ibn Nujaym (Hanafi) writing in al-Ashbaah wa’l-Nazaa’im;
  • al-Dardeer (Maaliki) said in al-Sharh al-Kabeer;
  • Al-Dasooqi in his Haashiyah (2/174);
  • Zakariya al-Ansaari (Shaafa’i) in Asna al-Mataalib (4/182);
  • al-Bahooti (Hanbali) said in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’ (3/34);

IslamQA quotes Al-Ghazali who declares that of the "four branches" of philosophy (geometry and mathematics, logic, theology, and natural sciences), some of the natural sciences "go against shari’ah, Islam and truth", and that except for medicine, "there is no need for the study of nature".[7][6]

Maani’ Hammad al-Juhani, (a member of the Consultative Council and General Director, World Assembly of Muslim Youth)[8] is quoted as declaring that because philosophy does not follow the moral guidelines of the Sunnah, "philosophy, as defined by the philosophers, is one of the most dangerous falsehoods and most vicious in fighting faith and religion on the basis of logic, which it is very easy to use to confuse people in the name of reason, interpretation and metaphor that distort the religious texts".[9][6]

Ibn Abi al-Izz, a commentator on al-Tahhaawiyyah, condemns philosophers as the ones who "most deny the Last Day and its events. In their view Paradise and Hell are no more than parables for the masses to understand, but they have no reality beyond people’s minds."[6]

Early Islamic philosophy[edit]

Main article: Early Islamic philosophy

In early Islamic thought, which refers to philosophy during the "Islamic Golden Age", traditionally dated between the 8th and 12th centuries, two main currents may be distinguished. The first is Kalam, which mainly dealt with Islamic theological questions, and the other is Falsafa, which was founded on interpretations of Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism. There were attempts by later philosopher-theologians at harmonizing both trends, notably by Ibn Sina (Avicenna) who founded the school of Avicennism, Ibn Rushd (Averroës) who founded the school of Averroism, and others such as Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen) and Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī.


Main article: Kalam

ʿIlm al-Kalām (Arabic: علم الكلام‎) is the philosophy that seeks Islamic theological principles through dialectic. In Arabic, the word literally means "speech".[10]

One of first debates was that between partisans of the Qadar (قدر meaning "Fate"), who affirmed free will; and the Jabarites (جبر meaning "force", "constraint"), who believed in fatalism.

At the 2nd century of the Hijra, a new movement arose in the theological school of Basra, Iraq. A pupil of Hasan of Basra, Wasil ibn Ata, left the group when he disagreed with his teacher on whether a Muslim who has committed a major sin invalidates his faith. He systematized the radical opinions of preceding sects, particularly those of the Qadarites and Jabarites. This new school was called Mu'tazilite (from i'tazala, to separate oneself).

The Mu'tazilites looked in towards a strict rationalism with which to interpret Islamic doctrine. Their attempt was one of the first to pursue a rational theology in Islam. They were however severely criticized by other Islamic philosophers, both Maturidis and Asharites. The great Asharite scholar Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi wrote the work Al-Mutakallimin fi 'Ilm al-Kalam against the Mutazalites.

In later times, Kalam was used to mean simply "theology", i.e. the duties of the heart as opposed to (or in conjunction with) fiqh(jurisprudence), the duties of the body.[11]


Falsafa is a Greekloanword meaning "philosophy" (the Greek pronunciation philosophia became falsafa). From the 9th century onward, due to Caliphal-Ma'mun and his successor, ancient Greek philosophy was introduced among the arabs and the Peripatetic School began to find able representatives. Among them were Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna and Averroes. Another trend, represented by the Brethren of Purity, used Aristotelian language to expound a fundamentally Neoplatonic and Neopythagorean world view.

During the Abbasid caliphate, a number of thinkers and scientists, some of them heterodox Muslims or non-Muslims, played a role in transmitting Greek, Hindu and other pre-Islamic knowledge to the ChristianWest. They contributed to making Aristotle known in Christian Europe. Three speculative thinkers, Al-Farabi, Avicenna and Al-Kindi, combined Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism with other ideas introduced through Islam.

End of the classical period[edit]

By the 12th century, Kalam, attacked by both the philosophers and the orthodox, perished for lack of champions. At the same time, however, Falsafa came under serious critical scrutiny. The most devastating attack came from Al-Ghazali, whose work Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers) attacked the main arguments of the Peripatetic School.[12]

Averroes, Maimonides' contemporary, was one of the last of the Islamic Peripatetics and set out to defend the views of the Falsafa against al-Ghazali's criticism. The theories of Ibn Rushd do not differ fundamentally from those of Ibn Bajjah and Ibn Tufail, who only follow the teachings of Avicenna and Al-Farabi. Like all Islamic Peripatetics, Averroes admits the hypothesis of the intelligence of the spheres and the hypothesis of universal emanation, through which motion is communicated from place to place to all parts of the universe as far as the supreme world—hypotheses which, in the mind of the Arabic philosophers, did away with the dualism involved in Aristotle's doctrine of pure energy and eternal matter.

But while Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and other Persian and Muslim philosophers hurried, so to speak, over subjects that trenched on traditional beliefs, Ibn Rushd delighted in dwelling upon them with full particularity and stress. Thus he says, "Not only is matter eternal, but form is potentially inherent in matter; otherwise, it were a creation ex nihilo" (Munk, "Mélanges," p. 444). According to this theory, therefore, the existence of this world is not only a possibility, as Avicenna declared, but also a necessity.


Main article: Logic in Islamic philosophy

In early Islamic philosophy, logic played an important role. Islamic law placed importance on formulating standards of argument, which gave rise to a novel approach to logic in Kalam, but this approach was later displaced by ideas from Greek philosophy and Hellenistic philosophy with the rise of the Mu'tazili philosophers, who highly valued Aristotle's Organon. The works of Hellenistic-influenced Islamic philosophers were crucial in the reception of Aristotelian logic in medieval Europe, along with the commentaries on the Organon by Averroes. The works of al-Farabi, Avicenna, al-Ghazali and other Muslim logicians who often criticized and corrected Aristotelian logic and introduced their own forms of logic, also played a central role in the subsequent development of European logic during the Renaissance.

According to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

"For the Islamic philosophers, logic included not only the study of formal patterns of inference and their validity but also elements of the philosophy of language and even of epistemology and metaphysics. Because of territorial disputes with the Arabic grammarians, Islamic philosophers were very interested in working out the relationship between logic and language, and they devoted much discussion to the question of the subject matter and aims of logic in relation to reasoning and speech. In the area of formal logical analysis, they elaborated upon the theory of terms, propositions and syllogisms as formulated in Aristotle's Categories, De interpretatione and Prior Analytics. In the spirit of Aristotle, they considered the syllogism to be the form to which all rational argumentation could be reduced, and they regarded syllogistic theory as the focal point of logic. Even poetics was considered as a syllogistic art in some fashion by most of the major Islamic Aristotelians."

Important developments made by Muslim logicians included the development of "Avicennian logic" as a replacement of Aristotelian logic. Avicenna's system of logic was responsible for the introduction of hypothetical syllogism, temporalmodal logic and inductive logic. Other important developments in early Islamic philosophy include the development of a strict science of citation, the isnad or "backing", and the development of a method to disprove claims, the ijtihad, which was generally applied to many types of questions.

Logic in Islamic law and theology[edit]

Early forms of analogical reasoning, inductive reasoning and categorical syllogism were introduced in Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Sharia (Islamic law) and Kalam (Islamic theology) from the 7th century with the process of Qiyas, before the Arabic translations of Aristotle's works. Later, during the Islamic Golden Age, there was debate among Islamic philosophers, logicians and theologians over whether the term Qiyas refers to analogical reasoning, inductive reasoning or categorical syllogism. Some Islamic scholars argued that Qiyas refers to inductive reasoning. Ibn Hazm (994–1064) disagreed, arguing that Qiyas does not refer to inductive reasoning but to categorical syllogistic reasoning in a real sense and analogical reasoning in a metaphorical sense. On the other hand, al-Ghazali (1058–1111; and, in modern times, Abu Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi) argued that Qiyas refers to analogical reasoning in a real sense and categorical syllogism in a metaphorical sense. Other Islamic scholars at the time, however, argued that the term Qiyas refers to both analogical reasoning and categorical syllogism in a real sense.[13]

Aristotelian logic[edit]

The first original Arabic writings on logic were produced by al-Kindi (Alkindus) (805–873), who produced a summary on earlier logic up to his time. The first writings on logic with non-Aristotelian elements was produced by al-Farabi (Alfarabi) (873–950), who discussed the topics of future contingents, the number and relation of the categories, the relation between logic and grammar, and non-Aristotelian forms of inference.[14] He is also credited for categorizing logic into two separate groups, the first being "idea" and the second being "proof".

Averroes (1126–1198), author of the most elaborate commentaries on Aristotelian logic, was the last major logician from al-Andalus.

Avicennian logic[edit]

Avicenna (980–1037) developed his own system of logic known as "Avicennian logic" as an alternative to Aristotelian logic. By the 12th century, Avicennian logic had replaced Aristotelian logic as the dominant system of logic in the Islamic world.[15]

The first criticisms of Aristotelian logic were written by Avicenna (980–1037), who produced independent treatises on logic rather than commentaries. He criticized the logical school of Baghdad for their devotion to Aristotle at the time. He investigated the theory of definition and classification and the quantification of the predicates of categorical propositions, and developed an original theory on "temporalmodal" syllogism. Its premises included modifiers such as "at all times", "at most times", and "at some time".

While Avicenna (980–1037) often relied on deductive reasoning in philosophy, he used a different approach in medicine. Ibn Sina contributed inventively to the development of inductive logic, which he used to pioneer the idea of a syndrome. In his medical writings, Avicenna was the first to describe the methods of agreement, difference and concomitant variation which are critical to inductive logic and the scientific method.[16]

Ibn Hazm (994–1064) wrote the Scope of Logic, in which he stressed on the importance of senseperception as a source of knowledge.[17]Al-Ghazali (Algazel) (1058–1111) had an important influence on the use of logic in theology, making use of Avicennian logic in Kalam.[14] Despite the logical sophistication of al-Ghazali, the rise of the Ash'ari school in the 12th century slowly suffocated original work on logic in much of the Islamic world, though logic continued to be studied in some Islamic regions such as Persia and the Levant.

Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (b. 1149) criticised Aristotle's "first figure" and developed a form of inductive logic, foreshadowing the system of inductive logic developed by John Stuart Mill (1806–1873). Systematic refutations of Greek logic were written by the Illuminationist school, founded by Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi (1155–1191), who developed the idea of "decisive necessity", an important innovation in the history of logical philosophical speculation.[18] and in favour of inductive reasoning.


Cosmological and ontological arguments[edit]

An Arabic manuscript from the 13th century depicting Socrates (Soqrāt) in discussion with his pupils


Fall 2012

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Instructor: Dr. Harbour              Office: East Ruffner 228     
Office telephone: 395—2219                Office hours:
                                          MWF 11:00-12:00
                                          TR 9:30-10:30

CourseDescription: Survey of the principal political theories and philosophies from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages, including the contributions of Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas.


Aristotle.  Politics.  Translated with Introduction and Notes, by C.D.C. Reeve.  Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1998.

. On the Commonwealth.Translated, with an Introduction, by George Sabine and Stanley Smith.: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1976.

Plato. TheRepublicand Other Works.Translated by B. Jowett.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.

Thucydides. On Justice Power and Human Nature. Selections from TheHistory of the Peloponnesian War. Translated, with an Introduction, by Paul Woodruff. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company,1993.

Joshua Parens and Joseph C. Macfarland.Editors.Medieval Political Philosophy.Second Edition.Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011.

You may also find the following online:

Plato.  Online Works Translated by Benjamin Jowett. All his works may be found online at:
 There you can read the following:
The Republic:

For links to important works in philosophy and ethics you may also go to:

Click HERE for Study Guide for this course.


Upon the completion of the course, students will be able to:

1. Discuss important philosophical and ethical issues associated with the political dimension of the human experience.

2. Demonstrate a capacity for critical and analytical thought about issues central to political philosophy.

3. Demonstrate an ability to communicate their knowledge and
beliefs about the principal thinkers and central themes found in the Western tradition of political philosophy both orally and in writing.

4. Discuss the ideas which constitute essential features of the Western political tradition.

5. Identify those values found in Western political thought which have helped to define various notions of useful and responsible citizenship.

6. Interpret the meaning and significance of the symbols which influence political thought and action today.

7. Discuss the major ways in which political philosophy has influenced how political scientists try to understand politics.

8. Discuss how the theories and ideas articulated in Western political thought have shaped and been shaped by the dynamic social forces found in Western societies.

This course satisfies Goal 13 (The Ethics Goal) of the new General Education requirements adopted by the University for students entering Longwood beginning in 2002-2003 as well as Goal 10 (The Ethics Goal) of the general education system existing for current students already in attendance prior to that time.

Goal 13: The ability to make informed, ethical choices and decisions and to weigh the consequences of those
choices (junior or senior course, may be departmentally designated or developed; three credits).

         Outcomes: Students will
          Identify the ethical issues implicit in personal behavior and in the operation of political, social, and economic
          Understand various approaches to making informed and principled choices
          Consider how these approaches might be applied to conflicts in their personal and public lives
          Understand the impact of individual and collective choices in society

General Education courses will have at least nine characteristics in common, reflected in the nine General Education course
criteria. Together, they define what a General Education course is at Longwood.  Courses satisfying all goals except Goals 12
and 15 will:

1. teach a disciplinary mode of inquiry (e.g., literary analysis, statistical analysis, historical interpretation, philosophical
reasoning, aesthetic judgment, the scientific method) and provide students with practice in applying their disciplinary mode of
inquiry, critical thinking, or problem solving strategies.

2. provide examples of how disciplinary knowledge changes through creative applications of the chosen mode of inquiry.

3. consider questions of ethical values.

4. explore past, current, and future implications (e.g., social, political, economic, psychological or philosophical) of disciplinary

5. encourage consideration of course content from diverse perspectives.

6. provide opportunities for students to increase information literacy through contemporary techniques of gathering,
manipulating, and analyzing information and data.

7. require at least one substantive written paper, oral report, or course journal and also require students to articulate information
or ideas in their own words on tests and exams.

8. foster awareness of the common elements among disciplines and the interconnectedness of disciplines.

9. provide a rationale as to why knowledge of this discipline is important to the development of an educated citizen.

Class Schedule:

Week 1      Introduction to Political Philosophy
Aug.20-24   Read: OnJustice,Power,and HumanNature
                 Special Topics:
            M: Questions in Political Philosophy
               Ancient Greek Political Thought
            W: Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War
            F: Human Nature, War, Justice
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 1
Write a three page essay in which you use what Thucydides says about human nature and conflict to explain what he implies about where morality and justice are most likely to be found in politics and when they tend to be lost.

Week 2      Socrates and Plato
Aug. 27-31  Read: The Apology, Crito, and Phaedo
            Special Topics
            M: The Socratic Method
               Socrates on the greatest goal in life
            W: The debate over political obligation
            F: The foundations of human knowledge
               Is the soul immortal?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 2
Write a three page essay in which you explain what sort of life Socrates believes people should lead.What are the implications of his understanding of the good life for politics?

Week 3      Socrates and Plato
Sept. 3-7           Read: Books 1-6 of The Republic
            Special Topics:
M:No classes on Labor Day
            W: What is justice? Is justice nothing
               more than the what is in the interests of the stronger?
               Human nature and the story of Gyges’ ring
            F: Plato’s theory of justice
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 3
After reading the The Republic, write a three page essay in which you explain how Plato defines the nature of justice.  Be sure to explain how he describes what it means to be a just person and how he pictures the just society or state. Then explain whether you think he is right or wrong about the nature of justice.

Week 4      Plato
Sept. 10-14 Read: Books 7-10 of The Republic
             Dr. Peale’s Essay on Ethics On-line with
            special attention to his discussion of Plato’s ethics
            Special Topics:
M:Who should rule and the idea of Philosopher kings
            W: Plato’s critique of democracy and democratic man
           The just man vs. the tyrant: Is justice worth it?
               What was Plato really trying to do?
            F: NOTE: Your first test will be given on Friday, Sept. 14. It
               will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 5     Plato: Some other works on leadership and law
Sept. 17-21 Aristotle: Introduction to Aristotle's Politics
            Read: Introduction, Introduction to the Politics and Nicomachean Ethics
                             Examine articles on Aristotle's Ethics at these sites:
            Dr. Peale’s Essay on Ethics On-line
            Optional Material: Online versions of The Statesman,  The Laws
            Special topics:
            M: Plato’s ideas on leadership in The Statesman
            W: The role of law in society in Plato’s The Laws
            F: What kind of methodology does Aristotle employ in trying to
               understand politics and society?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 4
Think about the different ways in which one might approach ethics. After reading Dr. Peale's essay on Ethics, the material from Aristotle on ethics, and reflecting back on Plato, explain in a three page essay how the ethical theories advanced by Plato and Aristotle differ from some of the most important ethical theories advanced later in the Western tradition of political philosophy.How does the approach to ethics employed by Plato and Aristotle differ from the modern approaches to ethics adopted by advocates of utilitarianism and the advocates of deontological approaches?

Week 6      Aristotle
Sept. 24-28 Read: Politics
            Special Topics:
            M: How do Aristotle and Plato differ in their views of what
               constitutes a good family structure?
            W: Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s views on property and the
               debate over communism
            F: Aristotle’s theory of distributive justice
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 5
After reading the Politics, write a three page essay in which you explain Aristotle's theory of distributive justice.  How would his theory of distributive justice be applied to our lives today and to basic political and economic issues?  Be sure to explain whether you think Aristotle is right about the nature of justice.

Week 7      Aristotle
Oct. 1-5  Read: Politics
            Special Topics:
            M: Aristotle’s views on democracy
            W: Aristotle’s theory of political change
            F: Aristotle on maintaining existing
               political systems
               Significance of Aristotle’s method of classifying political
               systems and theory of political change for the future study
               of comparative politics and contemporary theories of
               political change.
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 6
After reading the Politics, write a three page essay in which you explain his arguments as to why he believes a "polity" is the best form of government.  In developing this essay you must touch on his views about the strengths and weaknesses of democratic political systems.  Then explain whether or not you think he is right in his thinking about the best forms of government.

Week 8      Aristotle
Oct. 8-12  Read: Politics
            Dr. Peale’s Essay on Ethics On-line
            Optional Internet Classics Archive version of Nicomachean Ethics:
            with special attention to Aristotle’s Ethics
            Special topics:
            M: Aristotle’s theory on ethics
W:Comparing and contrasting Plato and Aristotle
            F: NOTE: Your second test will be given on Friday, Oct. 12. It
                                 will count for 1/6 or your semester grade.

FALL BREAK October 15 - 16

Week 9     Cicero
Oct. 17-19 Read: The Sabine and Smith introduction to
           The political thought of the Stoics and Cicero
           And the rest of On the Commonwealth             
           Dr. Peale’s Essay on Ethics On-line
           For optional background material on different philosophical schools of thought during the Hellenistic period you may go to the following sites:
On the Roman Stoic Epictetus:
For his Enchiridion at:
On the Roman Stoic Marcus Aurelius:
For his Meditations go to:           
Do additional web-based research on natural law theory
           Special Topics:
           W: The Skeptic attack on Plato, the Stoics, and the idea of justice
           F: The statesman and Cicero’s concept of political duty
          Cicero’s defense of Roman history and the concept of the just war
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 7
Write a three page essay in which you explain the Stoic concept of natural law and the attack on that theory made by ancient skeptics such as Carneades.  Explain your own thinking as to whether or not there are natural laws.  Be sure to discuss the merits and problems associated with each side in this debate.

Week 10   St. Augustine
Oct. 22-26 Read: Selections from The City of God; Romans 13
           Optional Reading online version: The Confessions
          Special Topics:
          M: Human nature, the City of Man, and God's role in history
          W: Augustine's defense of Christianity; on philosophy
          F: War, obedience, and persecution
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 8
Explain how Augustine defended Christianity from pagan criticisms that Christians could not be good citizens.  Explain his views about the citizenship obligations of Christians.  Also, explain where he might see some limits on his otherwise extensive notion of political obligation.  Evaluate his theory about the obligations and limits of good citizenship.

Week 11    Medieval Islamic Political Philosophy
Oct. 29 -Read: Selections 1 - 8 from Medieval Political Philosophy
Nov. 2   Special Topics:
           M: Alfarabi on different political regimes 
           W: Alfarabi on law and the attainment of happiness
           F: Avicenna on authority, morality, and legislation
Alghazaili and the critique of philosohpy
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 9
Write a three page essay on Alfarabi's theory as to how human beings can best attain happiness.  What does Alfarabi see as the political and legal conditions necessary for human happiness?  What do you think are the merits and problems with his theory?

Week 12    Medieval Islamic and Jewish Political Philosophy
Nov. 5-9Read:  Selections 9 - 19 
           Special Topics:
M: Averroes on religion, philosophy and the foundations of good laws and just governing
           W: Maimonides on religion, philosophy, and law 
F: Your third test will be given on Friday, Nov. 9. It willcount for 1/6 of your semester grade. 
Week 13    St. Thomas Aquinas and Medieval Christian Political Philosophy
Nov. 12-16 Read: Selections 20-24 from Medieval Political Philosophy
                  Students may find the entire Summa Theologica
at the following site:
There is no requirement that students read this massive work; however, the following sections touching on some of his most important political ideas from this great work should be read.
The section on law is found at:
The section on justice is found at:
The section on property is found at:
The section on commercial transactions, buying and selling is found at:
The section on usury is found at:
The section on obedience is found at:
The section on sedition is found at:
The section on unbelief, heresy, and persecution is found at:
Special Topics:
          M: How does Aquinas try to combine the
             Philosophy of Aristotle and Christianity in his  analysis ofpolitics?
             How does Aquinas distinguish between
             different kinds of laws?
          W: The idea of natural law
             How does Aquinas define the nature of justice?
          F: What is the best form of government?
             Should civil law try to promote morality?  
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 10
In addition to the text selections on Aquinas, for this essay you should also read the following online sources on the Catholic just war doctrine developed by Aquinas and the just war theory as refined by modern philosophers.
You are to write a three page essay explaining the central elements of the just war doctrine and then explain whether or not this is an acceptable theory.  Which wars of the last hundred years do you see as justifiable and which do you see as not justifiable under a defensible just war theory?

Week 14 The Thomistic Tradition
Nov. 19-20 Read:Extra online materials on the influence of Thomas Aquinas on Catholic political thought
Special Topic:
M:The influence of Aquinas on Catholic political thought

Thanksgiving Vacation Nov. 21-25

Week 15   Later Medieval Christian Political Philosophy
Nov. 26-30 Read: Selections 25 - 29 from Medieval Political Philosophy
     Special Topics:
          M: Dante on moral philosophy and monarchy
          W: Marsilius of Padua: defense of secular authority against the Papacy  
          F: William of Ockham and John Fortescue: authority, popes, and monarchs
          General Review Question:
             What are the connections between the questions asked by
             political philosophers and the questions asked by other
             disciplines in the humanities and social sciences? How do the
             methods of analysis used by political philosophers influence
             contemporary investigation of social and political problems by
             social scientists and individuals in the humanities?

Last Day of Classes: Nov. 30

Reading Day: Dec. 1

Final Exam Period: Dec. 3 - 7

Final Exam: The final exam will be worth 1/6 of your grade.
            It will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 11:30 A.M.-
            2:00 P.M.


Three tests
10 Critical Thinking Writing Exercises
Class participation-discussion
Final comprehensive exam

Grading: Your grade will be based upon three tests given during the course of the semester, combined score on 10 critical thinking writing exercises, your contributions to class discussion, and a final exam. Each of these will count for 1/6 of your semester grade. All tests will involve an essay format. The final examination will be comprehensive.
Grading: This course uses the + and – grading scale.

The total possible number of points to earn for the course is 600.Grades will be assigned according to the following percentages:

A+ = 98-100%

A = 92-97%

A-    = 90-91%

B+ = 88-89%

B = 82-87%

B-    = 80-81%

C+ = 78-79%

C = 72-77%

C-    = 70-71%

D+ = 68-69%

D = 62-67%

D- = 60-61%

F = 59% and below

Students with Disabilities:

If you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, please let me know at the beginning of the semester or when given an assignment for which an accommodation is required.The Director of Disability Support Services can be reached at x2391.

AttendancePolicy: The attendance policy for this course is the same as the University policy in the University Catalog and the Student Handbook.

HonorCode: Students are expected to live by the Longwood University Honor Code. All work done for the class must be pledged. Your instructor will not tolerate any form of cheating.

ClassDiscussion: Students are expected to make contributions to class discussion.

Ten Critical Thinking Writing Exercises: You will write ten 3 page essays during the course of the semester. The topics for these short essays are listed in the course outline.  Each paper is worth 10 points and is due at the beginning of class on the Friday of each week for which a paper is due.  Late papers will lose points.

TakingExams: Students are expected to live by the Longwood University Honor Code. All work for this class must be pledged. Your instructor will not tolerate any form of cheating. Exams must be taken on time. You are expected to provide proof for any legitimate reason (illness, participation in a University—sponsored activity, or recognizable emergency) you have for missing any exam. Having another exam on the same day or having problems with the person you are dating are not valid reasons for missing a test.


Basic Reading:

Aquinas. On Law Morality, and Politics.Edited, with Introduction, by William P. Baumgarth and Richard J. Regan, S.J. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. 1988.

Aristotle. ThePoliticsof Aristotle. Edited and Translated by Ernest Barker. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969.

Augustine. PoliticalWritings.Translated by Michael W.
Tkacz and Douglas Kries, Edited by Ernest L. Fortin and Douglas Kries. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing
Company, 1994.

Cicero. On the Commonwealth.Translated, with an Introduction, by George Sabine and Stanley Smith. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1929.

Peale, John. Essay on Ethics on found on Reserve in the Library.

Plato. TheApology. Found in The Republic and Other Works.
Translated by B. Jowett. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.

________ Crito. Found in The Republic and Other Works. Translated by B. Jowett.New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.

________ The Laws. Found in Plato: The Collected
Dialogues. Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns.Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University
Press, 1961.

________ Phaedo. Found in The Republic and Other Works. Translated by B. Jowett. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.

________ The Republic. Found in The Republic and Other Works. Translated by B. Jowett. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.

________ The Statesman. Found in Plato: The Collected Dialogues. Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University
Press, 1961.

Thucydides.On Justice Power and Human Nature.Selections from The History of the Peloponnesian
War. Translated, with an Introduction, by Paul Woodruff. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company,

Suggested Reading or Reference:

St. Thomas Aquinas.St. Thomas Aguinas on Politics and Ethics.Edited by Paul E. Sigmund.A Norton Critical Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1988.

Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by L. H. Greenwood. New York: Ayer. Co. Pubs., 1909.

Larry Arnhart. Political Questions: Political Philosophy. from Plato to Rawls. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987.

St. Augustine.The City of God.Translated by Henry Bettenson. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.

________ The Confessions of St. Augustine. Translated by Rex Warner. New York: The New American Library of World Literature, Inc., 1963.

Sir Ernest Barker.The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle.New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1959. Volumes 1 and 2. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1962.

James V. Downton, Jr., David K. Hart. Editors. Perspectives on Political Philosophy: Volume 1: Thucydides Through Machiavelli. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1971.

Richard T. Gardner, Andrew Oldenquist. Editors. Society and the Individual: Readings in Political and Social Philosophy. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1990.

Joseph Losco, Leonard Williams. Editors.Political Theory: ClassicWritings, Contemporary Views. New York:
St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1992.

Joshua Parens and Joseph C. Macfarland.Editors.Medieval Political Philosophy.Second Edition.Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011.

Brian Nelson. Western Political Thought: From Socrates to the Age of Ideology.Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1996.

Daryl H. Rice.  A Guide to Plato's Republic.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1998.

George H. Sabine. A History of Political Theory.Revised Edition. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1958.

Elizabeth Smith, H. Gene Blocker. Applied Social and Political Philosophy.Editors. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1994.

Plato. Dialogues. Found in Plato: The Collected Dialogues.Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1961.

________ Gorgias. Found in Plato: The Collected Dialogues. Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1961.

Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War.Introduction by John H. Finley, Jr. New York: Random House, Inc., 1951.

Eric Voegelin. Plato and Aristotle.Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1957.

Academic Journals:

American Political Science Review

History of Ideas

Modern Age

Political Theory

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