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Instructor: Alex Worsnip. This course meets TR 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in PE 2066.

This course is two things at once: an introduction to some great works of philosophy on one hand, and an introduction to the art of reading, understanding and philosophically engaging with historical works of philosophy on the other. We will focus in particular on social and political philosophy. In the first part of the course, we’ll read some of the key works of the classical Western tradition, by Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Mill. In the second part of the course, we’ll read some radical responses to this tradition, starting with Marx, and then moving on to two more recent (but already very important) books – Carole Pateman’s The Sexual Contract and Charles Mills’s The Racial Contract – which critique the classical tradition from the perspective of feminist theory and critical race theory, respectively.

Note: this class has a demanding reading load – typically 40-50 pages per class meeting (i.e. 80-100 pages per week), and the texts are dense and complex. To do well in the class (and to effectively learn from and enjoy it), you will need to be able to put in the time to read this material carefully and thoughtfully. While the course is challenging, it is also in my experience exceptionally rewarding for those who are ready and willing to throw themselves into the challenge.


Honors course enrollment and wait list procedures are located here. Please direct all registration questions to Jenn Marshburn (, Enrolled Student Services Coordinator for Honors Carolina.