University of Tennessee, Martin





Course Section: 01

Course Title: Political Philosophy

Meeting Time and Place: Humanities 215

Course Credit Hours: 3

Textbook: Classics in Political Philosophy, edited by James Fieser

Posted online for free at and on Canvas

 Faculty Contact Information:

Dr. James Fieser

Office: Humanities 216A

Office Hours: MWF 1:00-2:00, and by appointment

Phone: 881-7537 (Office)




            Course Description (from UTM Catalog): A review of philosophical theories of justice, political liberty, civil disobedience and the status of law generally, critical legal studies vs. natural law traditions. Readings in classical figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Machievelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx and recent writers such as Rawls and Nozick.

            Course Resources: all material for this course is posted at (this material is not on Blackboard).

            Philosophy Major Student Learning Outcomes (asterisks indicate which SLOs pertain to PHIL 410): Upon completion of the philosophy program, students will be able to (1) Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of metaphysical, epistemological, and value theories in philosophy; *(2) Apply specialized knowledge of key philosophical issues and philosophers; *(3) Analyze and interpret major texts and arguments in philosophy; (4) Apply the main rules of philosophical argumentation and logic; *(5) Defend/refute philosophical positions in writing.

            Political Science Major Student Learning Outcomes (asterisks indicate which SLOs pertain to POSC 401): (1) Describe political structures and processes, including those relating to elections, policy making, and policy implementation; *(2) Demonstrate an understanding of global political dynamics, encompassing an appreciation for the interconnectedness of international political, economic, and social activity; (3) Produce a research project demonstrating analytical skills while applying contemporary methods of political science research; *(4) Write and present findings from an original research or critical thinking project.

            Course Communications: email will be the primary means of communication outside of class. I try to answer all email messages within an hour. During the semester I will email a few short messages to the entire class.



            Tests: Three tests will be given throughout the semester consisting of about 40-60 multiple choice questions each. Students who miss class on test days may be penalized.

            Study Questions: All of the reading material in the course has accompanying study questions, which will be posted on the web. The questions are due three times during the semester on test day. Students should submit the study question answers through email.

            Attendance: Attendance is expected and will be taken regularly; poor attendance may adversely affect your grade by 5-15 points. You are allowed six discretionary absences, with no penalty. If you go over six, I will only evaluate the legitimacy of excuses on finals day, so you need to save all your written excuses until that time; please do not show them to me until then.

            Essay Assignments: Essay papers may be assigned throughout the semester. Instructions will be given during the semester as appropriate.

            Ten Commandments of Class Conduct: Violation of the following may result in deducted points or worse: (1) Do not show up late for class; (2) shut off and put away all electronic devices; (3) Do not sneak out of class after attendance; (4) Do not leave the room once class starts unless you tell me beforehand; (5) Do not chat with students around you. (6) Do not study material for a different class during this one; (7) Do not be disrespectful to me or other students in the room; (8) Do not pack your things until I tell you that class is over; (9) Do not cheat on exams and assignments; (10) Do not backslide on these commandments.

            Course Grade: Final grades will be determined according to the total points from the three exams, study questions and essays, minus penalty points for class absences, disruption and late exams. The starting point for final grading is the standard grading scale, that is, A: 90%, B: 80 %, C: 70%, D: 60 %, F: 59% and under. However, the final grading scale will be lowered as will be determined at the end of the semester. Please note that completing all of the writing assignments is a requirement for passing this course.

            Extra Credit and Lottery Scholarships: No extra credit will be available for this course; students on scholarships should take particular note of this.



            Study Question Assignments: Answer *all* of the “Questions for Review” and *one* of the “Questions for Analysis” that appear at the close of each selection, and post your answers in the appropriate in Canvas.

            Reading Assignments: The order of reading assignments is listed on the course web page.

            Exam Schedule:

First exam: Wednesday, February 14

Second exam: Wednesday, March 28

Third exam: Friday, May 4, 7:45 AM in H210



            Academic Integrity: The University of Tennessee at Martin has chosen as its primary objective quality undergraduate education. Commitment to this objective must include an obligation by all members of the University community to promote and protect the highest standards of integrity in study, research, instruction and evaluation. Dishonesty or unethical behavior does not belong at an institution dedicated to the promotion of knowledge and learning. Integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation by faculty and honest academic conduct by students. Specific integrity attributes can be found:

            Standard of Conduct: When persons enroll in The University of Tennessee at Martin, they retain the rights and duties of a citizen. Additionally, they must assume the duties and observe the regulations imposed by the University community.  Specific conduct attributes can be found:

            Disability Services: The University of Tennessee provides reasonable accommodations (academic adjustments and auxiliary aids) to ensure equal access to educational content and university programs for students with disabilities. Students who are eligible for and who request accommodations through the Disability Services office must provide instructors with a letter of accommodation. The Disability Services office is located in the Student Success Center, 203 Clement Hall, (731) 881-7605.