History of Political Philosophy


1) To acquire a critical in-depth knowledge of the fundamental theses and problems in History of Political Philosophy
2) To acquire an in-depth knowledge of the way certain theses and problems in the History of Political Philosophy fit into the philosophical tradition
3) To acquire the ability to connect the History of Political Philosophy with decisive events in the Political History
4) Recognize the importance of the study of Political Philosophy to understand the present questions in Political Philosophy

General characterization





Responsible teacher

André Filipe dos Santos de Campos


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language



Available soon


Darwall, Stephen (ed.). Contractarianism / Contractualism. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003.
Gough, J.W. The Social Contract. A Critical Study of Its Development, 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957.
Lessnoff, Michael (ed.). Social Contract. London: MacMillan, 1986.
Medina, Vicente. Social Contract Theories: Political Obligation or Anarchy. Savage: Rowman & Littlefield, 1990.
Riley, Patrick. “How Coherent is the Social Contract Tradition?” Journal of the History of Ideas 34 (1973): 543-62.
Ryan, Alan. On Politics. A History of Political Thought from Herodotus to the Present. London: Penguin, 2012.
Campos, Andre Santos. “The Idea of the Social Contract in the History of ‘Agreementism’”, The European Legacy 24(6) (2019): 579-596.

Teaching method

Each session consists of lectures and discussion of classical texts, based on scheduled readings. This includes analysis and discussion of theories, methods and techniques employed in political theory, as well as the reinforcement of the ability to independently and academically draw up a convincing contextualized research question, select relevant theories and methods, and to gather and critically analyze various possibly complex textual and conceptual materials.

Evaluation method

Evaluation method - Discussion of texts during session seminars(20%), Final written essay(80%)

Subject matter

The History of ‘Agreementism’
The idea that a society or a government or moral principles can depend on consent or authorization in order to exist and be binding has been a recurrent motif in political and moral thought throughout the History of western philosophy. In this context, agreement of the individuals subject to collectively enforced social arrangements is relevant to the fact that those arrangements have some normative property. This course provides an overview of this kind of normative justification in politics and shows that the social contract is only one of the possible forms it assumes throughout the History of Philosophy. It is divided into four parts.
I. The classical and medieval origins of ‘Agreementism’.
II. The School of Salamanca.
III. Modern contractualisms and contractarianisms.
IV. The Public Reason debates.


Programs where the course is taught: