Political Philosophy


1. First aim consists in giving to the students a network of fundamental concepts in the area of political philosophy.
2. Second, to familiarize the students with some relevant classical texts and authors in the tradition of political philosophy.
3.Third, to stimulate the discussion on contemporary questions in political philosophy.


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Giovanni Damele


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 168

Teaching language



Not applicable


John Locke (ed. by Ian Shapiro): Two Treatises of Government and A letter concerning toleration, Yale U.P., 2003

John Locke: Dois tratados do governo civil, Edições 70, 2006

John Locke: Carta sobre a tolerância, Edições 70, 2014

John Stuart Mill (ed. by D. Bromwich & G. Kateb): On Liberty, Yale U.P., 2003

John Stuart Mill: Sobre a liberdade, Edições 70, 2006

Benjamin Constant: De la liberté des anciens comparée à celle des modernes, Berg International, 2016

Benjamin Constant (ed. António Araujo): A liberdade dos antigos comparada com a dos modernos, BookBuilders, 2016

Judith N. Shklar, The Faces of Injustice, Yale U.P., 1990


Further reading:

Isaiah Berlin (ed. by Henry Hardy), Liberty, Oxford U.P., 2002

Teaching method

Teaching - Lectures introducing the major themes of the course (75%), and discussions of selected texts (25%).

In class teaching.

Evaluation method

Final test(70%), Participation(10%), mid-course test(20%)

Subject matter

The main theme of the course will be a reconstruction of the roots of liberalism, based on the analysis and on the discussion of three classical texts: John Locke’s “Second Treatise of Government”, Benjamin Constant’s “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of Moderns” and John Stuart Mill’s “On liberty”. Starting from this three texts, and through the analysis of other texts and authors belonging to the liberal tradition, we will analyze and discuss the main concepts and elements of political liberalism: the idea of liberty (and its limits and contradictions), the role and the definition of individual rights and guarantees, the foundation and justification of private property, the role of the State and that of civil society, the relationship between liberalism and democracy. Finally, we will discuss the possible relevance of liberalism in the contemporary political landscape, starting from the works of the American political philosopher Judith Shklar.