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PO201-15 Political Theory From Hobbes

Politics & International Studies
Undergraduate Level 2
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

Political Theory from Hobbes invites students to critically confront the ideas of some of the most important western (predominantly) European political and social thinkers since about 1640, with special reference to their best-known works. These include Hobbes's Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise of Government, Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality and On the Social Contract, Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, Mill and Harriet Taylor's The Subjection of Women, and Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth. The module will also consider how these ideas help us think about contemporary debates in political theory, such as debates about exploitation, marriage, and hate speech.
The module builds on ideas explored in Introduction to Politics during your first year, and it leads towards the third year module, Issues in Political Theory, which deals with present day argument about social justice and the relations between individuals, the state and communities.

Module aims

This module aims to give you an understanding of the political philosophy of some of the most important European writers from 1640 onwards. You will be encouraged to read widely in both the primary and secondary literature concerning these writers. We aim to develop your understanding of how these thinkers’ political convictions are shaped by their views about morality, human nature, and the nature and history of social interaction.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Interpret and assess critically the best-known texts of some of the most important western European political and social thinkers from Hobbes to Fanon.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how political thought relates to issues concerning human nature, history and morality.
  • Confront and assess complex sets of ideas in political theory, and present and defend your point of view, both orally and in writing.
Indicative reading list


Subject specific skills


Transferable skills

The module provides students with opportunities to acquire and to develop the following key skills:

Critical thinking and analytical skills. This involves identifying premises and conclusions of arguments; determining whether the conclusions follow from the premises; and understanding the practical implications of theoretical commitments.
Close textual analysis skills. This involves interpreting a complex text, and distilling from it various interconnected lines of argument.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Private study 132 hours (88%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description



No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
3000 Word Essay 100%
Feedback on assessment



This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 2 of UIPA-L2L8 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development