The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Louise Liebeskind

PhD in Government, University of Texas at Austin

Louise Liebeskind



Ancient and early modern political philosophy


GOV 314 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

37683 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 3.116
(also listed as CTI 302)

CTI 302 Classics of Social and Political Thought

Louise Liebeskind

TTH 930-1100 in GAR 3.116


This course will explore the changing role of human psychology in the history of political thought through the study of classic texts in philosophy and psychology. In roughly chronological order, we will examine several key philosophers’ accounts of the deepest yearnings of the human soul, and the potential for political life to fulfill those yearnings, noting the dramatic changes between the ancient, medieval, early modern, and late modern periods. In the final section of the course, we will study Darwin’s evolutionary theory of human mental faculties in The Descent of Man, Freud’s theory of unconscious psychological drives, and current theories of evolutionary psychology. We will discuss how these developments in our understanding of the origin and character of human mental phenomena affect the place of psychological study in political thought.


We will read selections from the following works:


Plato The Republic, The Symposium

St. Augustine  The Confessions, City of God

Hobbes The Leviathan

Rousseau Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

Darwin The Descent of Man

Freud Civilization and its Discontents

And selected articles on evolutionary psychology




Weekly posts on a discussion forum in Canvas discussing the week’s readings, raising questions for discussion in class and responding to posts by other students


2 Papers


Final Exam

Curriculum Vitae

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704