POLS2900 Tutorial


Course syllabus: POLS 2900 6.0C SYLLABUS 2017-2018

TEACHING ASSISTANT: Alain Savard alainsvrd@gmail.com
OFFICE: S627 Ross – Mondays 4:00-5:00 pm.

Tutorial 2: Mondays 5:00-5:50 pm, HNE 105
Tutorial 4: Mondays 6:00-6:50 pm, R S537

Tutorial syllabus

TUTORIAL GRADES (worth 15% of the total grade)

Tutorial grade is calculated on:

1) Tutorial mini-test results

2) Tutorial attendance


There are 22 tutorial sessions this year, 5 of which will have no mini-test. Attending a tutorial with no mini-test gives you 1 tutorial point.


There will be 17 mini-tests in tutorials. A mini test is one multiple-choice question. Questions will be available one week in advance on alainsavard.net . Mini-tests will be taken in the first 5 minutes of a tutorial. Failure to arrive on time will forfeit the possibility of taking the mini-test. A good answer in the mini-test is worth 2 tutorial points, and a bad answer is worth 1 tutorial point.


Therefore, there is a maximum of 39 tutorial points.


Table of Conversion from tutorial points to course grade

15/15 (A+) : 35+

14/15 (A+) : 32-34

13/15 (A) : 30-31

12/15 (A) : 28-29

11/15 (B) : 26-27

10/15 (C+) : 24-25

9/15 (C) : 22-23

8/15 (D) : 20-21

7/15 (E) : 15-19

6/15 (F) : 10-14

5/15 (F) : 8-9

4/15 (F) : 6-7

3/15 (F) : 4-5

2/15 (F) : 2-3

1/15 (F) : 1

0/15 (F) : 0




TUTORIAL SCHEDULE: We will always discuss the readings and the lecture of the preceding week. The tutorial schedule will be updated online on alainsavard.net if there is a change in the pace of lectures.


  1. September 18: Introduction to the tutorial and historical context of classical Athens


  1. September 25: Socrates and Political

Question:  «After Socrates was condemned to death, why didn’t he try to flee?»

Mini-test: Plato, “Apology” and “Crito” in The Trial and Death of Socrates

  1. October 2: Theory Plato: the Defense of Justice + How to write a good essay in political theory

Question:  « Why does Glaucon bring up the myth of the ring of Gyges in the discussion with Socrates? »


Mini-test: Plato, Republic, Book 1-IV

  1. Oct 9: Thanksgiving holiday – no tutorial


  1. October 16: Plato: the Just City + Exchange of draft of first papers

Mini-test on: Plato, Republic, Book V-VIII

Question:  « Why does Socrates use the Allegory of the cave in Plato’s Republic? »

  1. October 23: Plato Conclusion/Aristotle Introduction

Due date of first paper – bring it in tutorial.

  1. October 30: Aristotle: Ethics, Nature and Politics

Readings: Aristotle, Politics:

Mini-test on: Book I (entire)

Question:  « What is Aristotle’s opinion on the accumulation of wealth? »

  1. November 6: Aristotle: the Best City

Mini-test on: Book II (ch. 1-8) Book III (ch. 1-9)

Question:  « What are the three just and the three unjust governments for Aristotle? »

  1. November 13: Historical overview: from Ancient Greece to the Italian Renaissance

Mini-test on: Aristotle, Politics: Book V (entire) Book VII (ch. 1-9) Book IV (ch. 1-11)

Question: « Who should fill the military and the deliberative roles in Aristotle’s best polis? »

  1. November 20: Machiavelli: Politics and Morality

Mini-test: Machiavelli, The Prince

Question:  « What is the main purpose of Machiavelli’s book The Prince? »

  1. November 27: Machiavelli: Republicanism and Civic Virtue

Mini-test: Machiavelli, The Discourses: Book I, chs. 1-18 – Book III, chs. 7-9, 43

Question: « In Book 3, chapter 9 of the Discourses, why does Machiavelli argue that a Republic is better than a Princedom? »

Exam review sheet: Mid-Term Test Review POLS 2900C F 2017

  1. Dec 4: No tutorial – prepare for your exam.

Second Term:

  1. January 8: Historical overview: the English civil war and the early scientific revolution


  1. January 15: Hobbes: the Nature of “Man”

Mini-test: Hobbes, Leviathan, Introduction, Part I: Ch. 1-6, 8, 10, 13-15

Question: “What is Hobbes’ second law of nature?”

  1. January 22: Hobbes: Freedom, Security and Obligation

Mini-test: Hobbes, Leviathan, Part II: Ch. 17-24, 26-31, 46; Review and Conclusion

Question: “Under which conditions can a subject resist against the authority of a Sovereign?”

  1. January 29: Locke: “Man,” “Nature” and Society

Mini-test: Locke, The Second Treatise of Government

Question: “How can private property be legitimately acquired for Locke?”

  1. February 5: Locke: Property, Freedom and Consent

Mini-test: Locke, The Second Treatise of Government

Question: “Under which conditions can a people create a new government?”

  1. February 12: Rousseau: the Problem of “Human Nature”

Mini-test: Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality

Question: “What is the origin of unnatural inequality for Rousseau?”



  1. February 26: Rousseau: Republicanism and Moral Liberty

Mini-test: Rousseau, The Social Contract, Book I; Book II, chs. 1-8, 11-12; Book III, chs. 1-6, 10-18; Book IV, chs. 1-2, 7-9

Question:  « What is the purpose of Rousseau’s social contract? » (not the book, the contract itself)

  1. March 5: Wollstonecraft: Civic virtue and gender

Mini-test: Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women

  1. March 12: Marx: Early Writings

Mini-test: Marx, Selected Writings: “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844” (pp. 54- 79); “On the Jewish Question” (pp. 2-26); “Theses on Feuerbach” (pp. 98-101)

  1. March 19: Marx: History and Politics

Mini-test: Marx, Selected Writings: “Manifesto of the Communist Party” (pp. 157-186); “Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” (pp. 187-208).

  1. March 26: J. S. Mill and “Negative” Freedom

Mini-test: Mill, On Liberty, chs. 1-4

  1. April 2: J. S. Mill and the “Woman Question”


Due date of second paper – bring it in tutorial.