Discussion questions: correction

Folks, though I said last week that the W group was on for tomorrow, I just double-checked the calendar, and I misspoke. Each group has two questions left. That means that the Wednesday group is up next week and the week after, but not tomorrow.


Discussion questions for Locke, *Second Treatise,* Chs. 17-19

Chapter 19, paragraph 220: "When the government is dissolved, the people are at liberty to provide for themselves, by erecting a new legislative, differing from the other, by the change of persons, or form, or both, as they shall find it most for their safety and good."How does a society decide what new form of government they want to replace an old one? Also, how do they determine what is best for the safety and good of everyone? Wouldn't people primarily care about their own safety as opposed to everyones?
Chapter XVIII "Of Tyranny" paragraphs 203 and 204How does Locke's view of man and tyrant differ/compare with Machiavelli's? Wouldn't Machiavelli argue that a prince can leverage any amount of authority or power in order to accomplish his goal, or be feared? Locke asks, "May the commands then of the prince be opposed?" What do you think and how does this apply to politics today?
Chapter 18What if the tyrant is, by law, entitled to the throne? Does he have the right to exercise power? Is it possible for a tyrant to have the right to this kind of power “beyond right?” For a king can still make laws that “give way to his own will and appetite.” Or is it only possible for a king to act like a tyrant, and not be one?

Discussion questions

Link to Congressional demographics

You can find the graphic we looked at here.


Questions for Locke’s *Second Treatise,* Chs. 12-16

Chapter 12 In this chapter Locke discuses the legislature and how it should be composed of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and areas in society. However, if we look at many of the world's legislative bodies they are often composed of relatively homogenous traits such as male, wealthy and (in the USA) being white. How would one go about insuring the proper variety, as reflected in the population, would be present in the legislature? Is there any way to guarantee variety? Is such a variety always a good thing? Why or why not?
Chapter 13, Part 150In this passage, Locke says that the legislative is the supreme power when it comes to governmental issues. Is this where the U.S. government got its idea that Congress can in fact override a president's veto? Do you think that Locke is right in thinking this, especially with the many criticisms that arise in the current U.S. Congress (if hypothetically a situation would arise where a president would have to veto legislation)?
Chapter 19When reading this chapter, Locke generally asks who can determine when the overthrow of a leader. The conclusion is that the people are the ones who have the ability to determine the demise of their ruler. I would have to agree. If nothing else, the greatest evidence of this comes from the Arab Spring. All across the Middle East/North Africa, there was a call from the people to bring about the end of authoritative rulers. The people organized and sought the destiny they wished for, for their country. They had been the ones facing the greatest consequences of these rulers (and some still are in Syria) and had the right, I believe, to overthrow these destructive leaders. I was then curious if there is agreement with this statement, or do some think that there should be a more formal way of taking down a leader such as through a process similar to the US with impeachment?
Chapter 14 ("Of Prerogative"), Paragraph 168If a ruler in today's world was in a state of war and used an "appeal to heaven", how do you think the people would react?
Chapter 19 section 220 Locke states that when a government is dissolved, it is up to the people to provide for themselves by choosing new leaders and changing their form of government. What measures must be taken in establishing their new government to ensure it does not again dissolve?

Discussion questions

We’re up and running again; discussion questions

If you’re seeing this, you’ll know that our site is up and running again.

The old URL should still bring you here; it should redirect (that’s an intentional redirect this time!) automatically. That means the link in Blackboard should also work. Still, if you want to play it safe, I’d suggest bookmarking the new address: http://posc204s2012.amycavender.org.

Almost all of the content from the previous site made it through the transition (though you’ll notice that the timestamps on the post are all from the end of March; they don’t reflect the time and date of the original posts). What didn’t survive were the posts that contained tables filled with discussion questions.

So that you’ll have access to those older questions, I’m including here a spreadsheet that includes the questions we’ve used in class up to now: Discussion Questions through 30 March 2012.

The works to which the questions refer aren’t listed, but you should be able to determine which work we were reading based on the date of each question.


Announcements, Discussion questions

No class today (Friday, March 23)

Good morning!

I am not feeling especially well today, and will be unable to come to class. Later in April we have one more day scheduled for Rousseau than is really necessary, so we’ll get caught up.

For now, we’ll just be one day behind on the schedule, so we’ll do on Monday what we’d planned to do today, and will begin with Locke on Wednesday. Discussion question assignments still belong on the day originally scheduled.

Monday group: you won’t be providing questions on Locke. Instead, please do what I’d asked the Friday group to do.

Have a good weekend!


Annotated Bibliography

Here’s the link for the annotated bibliography assignment.


Topic brainstorming

The document we’ll be using is here.


Essay #2

You’ll find the assignment sheet for the second essay (due April 4) here: Essay #2.


Friday discussion questions

On Friday, we’ll be doing something a little different. Would the Friday group please:

  • Think back over the texts we’ve read so far. Is there one that especially intrigues you?
  • Identify what is it about that text that most intrigues you.
  • Having done that, devise a question that expresses at least some of what intrigues you, but that you don’t think you can answer based on the text alone. Submit that question using the usual form.