Spring 2023 - POL 210 D100

Introduction to Political Philosophy (3)

Class Number: 5065

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2023
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    SSCC 9000, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    POL 100 or permission of department.



An examination of concepts presented by the major political thinkers of the western world. The course surveys those ideas which remain at the root of our political institutions, practices and ideals against a background of the periods in which they were expressed. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.



This course is intended to help students know more, and engage with, the thoughts of the political philosophers who have shaped the ideas we hold about politics, justice and social institutions. Current political debates are often framed in terms that owe much to the teaching of these thinkers, although it is rarely explicitly acknowledged. Understanding how these ideas emerged and which ones they replaced or to which they are still standing in opposition is the best way to develop critical thinking skills. The course follows two parallel paths: i) a historical account of the development of important political ideas through the writings of these major philosophers; and ii) an examination of how these works inform current debates about democracy, justice, human rights, etc.

Course Organization:

There will be a weekly two-hour lecture; discussions and students’ presentations will take place in weekly tutorials.


  • Essay (10 pp./2,500 words) 40%
  • Mid-term exam 20%
  • Final exam 30%
  • Participation (including presentation) 10%



We will make extensive use of classical texts available on the Internet and of digital versions of journal articles accessible through the Library. Most will also be posted on Canvas.


Peri Roberts and Peter Sutch. An Introduction to Political Thought: A Conceptual Toolkit. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 2012.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html