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Political Science/English- PS 115-EN 115/GS 101: Concepts of Freedom from Ancient to Modern Times

Blocks 1 and 2: Tim Fuller and John Simons

Raphael's School of Athens, 1511.

This two-block course meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

Our interdisciplinary course explores enduring questions in the Western tradition: What does it mean to be free?  What are the basic ideas of freedom that figure prominently in the Western tradition?  What is freedom for?  Is there a rational use of freedom?

Discussion will spring from readings in ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and modern philosophy, politics, religion, and literature and be supplemented with complementary films.  Our texts will be chosen from among the following philosophers, writers, and filmmakers: The Bible, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Locke, Rousseau, Mary Shelley, Lincoln, Melville, Dostoevsky, Camus, Willa Cather, Ingmar Bergman, Terence Malick, Woody Allen, Kazuo Ishiguro.

A two-block, team-taught course; one grade will be given for the course as a whole.


  • PS115 can serve as a gateway into the Political Science major and the Classics/History/Politics majors.