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The University of Southampton

PAIR2002 Political Thinkers

Module Overview

An introduction to the history of political thought, focusing on major thinkers such as Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx (not all will be covered in any given year). Pre-requisite for PAIR3015

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

crtically evaluate their strengths and weakneses

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of an analysis of therelation of the political to human life
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what is meant by the political
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the varieies of the social contract in relation to politics
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of major thinkers about the political realm
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what is meant by modernity in relation to the political


Part I: Introduction Part II: The Social Contract Tradition 1. Hobbes and the problem of sovereignty 2. Locke and self-ownership 3. Rousseau and the virtues of humanness Part III: The Political and modernity 1. Mill and liberty and equality 4. Marx and equality and social justice

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures (2 a week) and 5 seminars (end of weeks 3, 5, 7, 9, 11)

Independent Study121
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Rousseau. Basic Political Writings. 

Locke. Second Treatise or on line. 

Thmoas Hobes. LEVIATHAN (pb) Hackett) or on line. 

On Liberty or on line. 




MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

if there are cheaper editions of Locke, Mill or Marx, they can be ordered or except for the Rousseau these texts can be accessed on line

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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