ONLINE CLASS: East of Eden: Nature and the Social Contract in Early Modern Political Thought (20114)

Six Mondays: October 5, 19, November 2, 16, 30, and December 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

$150 (10% off for members)

Few political philosophers have had greater influence than Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Regardless of our evaluation of Hobbes’ political realism, Locke’s influence on the American Founding, or Rousseau’s scathing attack on “progress,” we must acknowledge that each theorist has profoundly shaped the way we understand ourselves, our politics, and our history. Set against that backdrop, this class will explore four of these thinkers’ key works: Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and Rousseau’s First and Second Discourses. Class time will be devoted less to lecture than to an exegesis of these often difficult and at times even scandalous texts. We will approach our reading both with the conventional encouragements about “critical thinking” and with a willingness to suspend disbelief. Said otherwise, both the hermeneutics of suspicion and the hermeneutics of deference will be part of our enterprise. To understand the philosophical questions these authors raise, and the wagers they offer by way of an answer, requires both. Six Mondays: October 5, 19, November 2, 16, 30, and December 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

Reading Schedule

(Note from instuctor: The exact timing of our readings will have to be determined by the pace of our discussion)

  • Class 1—Oct. 5: Course Introduction, Hobbes Leviathan, Part I: Of Man: Chs. i, ii, iv, xi, xii, xiii, xiv, xvi
  • Class 2—Oct. 19: Hobbes, Leviathan, Part II: Of Commonwealth, Chs. xvii, xxvi, xxix, xxxi; Part III: Of a Christian Commonwealth, Chs. xxxii, xxxv, xxxix, xliii
  • Class 3—Nov. 2: Locke, Second Treatise, Chs. I – XIV
  • Class 4—Nov. 16: Locke, Second Treatise, Chs. XV – XIX
  • Class 5—Nov. 30: Rousseau, First Discourse
  • Class 6—Dec. 14: Rousseau, Second Discourse, Concluding Remarks

Required Texts:

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses

Joseph Hartman is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on political theory, constitutional law and American government. Prior to his time in the academy he spent more than a decade as a litigation attorney in private practice with a large law firm in Washington, D.C. He earned his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown in 2015, holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School (1999), and a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia (1996). His academic and intellectual interests focus on the relationship between political thought and theology in the Western tradition and contemporary issues relating to public and constitutional law.

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

SKU: 9787000008281
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Leviathan: With Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780872201774
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Hackett Publishing Company - March 1st, 1994

Second Treatise of Government Cover Image
ISBN: 9780915144860
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Hackett Publishing Company - June 1st, 1980

Rousseau: The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781316605547
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Cambridge University Press - October 31st, 2018