POLS 201 Introduction to Political Philosophy • 5 Cr.


Explores the philosophical foundations of politics and political activity. Organized around key political and philosophical concepts, such as authority, citizenship, equality, justice, liberty, power, rights, and sustainability. Same as PHIL 201. Either POLS 201 or PHIL 201 may be taken for credit, not both.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Articulate conceptions of citizenship and the potential tensions between these and self-interest.
  • Summarize key concepts in political philosophy.
  • Distinguish competing conceptions of liberty, equality and the good life in various theories of justice.
  • Formulate and evaluate normative theories of justice in political philosophy.
  • Apply theories of justice to specific policy issues.
  • Analyze issues of sustainability including the free rider problem and the tragedy of the commons and how these bear on theories of justice.