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Many students today are confused as they encounter charged and changing ideas about ethics, race, gender, identity, sexuality and civic life generally. What are the ideas and causes that underlie so much of our modern political and social malaise? How can students understand concerns for social justice and personal autonomy without lapsing into either a detached cynicism or angry iconoclasm? In this course on Teaching Modern Political Philosophy, Joshua Gibbs presents viewers with the intellectual roots of both liberal and conservative modern political philosophy. Teachers who view these courses will come away with greater abilities to describe the shape of modern political discourse, but also to help students understand our current political environment and respond to it with a combination of knowledge, discernment, criticism and charity. Joshua equips educators in all subject areas to nurture the political imaginations of their students as he considers the thought and works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, Charlotte Brontë, William Shakespeare and Rémi Brague. This reorientation will refresh and encourage parents, teachers and school leaders regarding this critical aspect of our lives together within our homes, schools and classrooms.

This course follows the organizational scheme below:

  • Intro: Teaching Modern Political Philosophy
  • Lesson 1: Prefatory Comments
  • Lesson 2: The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pt. 1
  • Lesson 3: The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pt. 2
  • Lesson 4: The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pt. 3
  • Lesson 5: The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pt. 4
  • Lesson 6: Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, Pt. 1
  • Lesson 7: Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, Pt. 2
  • Lesson 8: Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, Pt. 3
  • Lesson 9: Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, Pt. 4
  • Lesson 10: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Pt. 1
  • Lesson 11: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Pt. 2
  • Lesson 12: Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Lesson 13: The Impossibility of Secular Society by Rémi Brague
  • Lesson 14: Sin No More by Rémi Brague
Joshua Gibbs is a humanities and literature teacher at the Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia. Josh has been teaching the Great Books for some 10 years and is an associate fellow with the Alcuin Fellowship, a coterie of classical educators who are committed to the renewal of classical Christian education. He is also a frequent speaker at classical education conferences. Josh lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and two daughters, both of whom have seven names. Josh is also the author of the book How to Be Unlucky: Reflections on the Pursuit of Virtue, published by our friends at the Circe Institute.

Please Note: ClassicalU is currently developing a certification to accompany our course offerings. The certification credit component of this course is now active but also undergoing refinement and testing.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete the quiz that follows each presentation in the course, and then also take the certification test at the end of the course. The quizzes are designed to ensure that you have understood the essential content of each presentation, and they can be taken more than once if necessary. The cumulative certification test at the end of the course is given as a pass/fail test and requires that you upload one or more essays demonstrating your understanding this course (with essays evaluated by word count only). When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will magically appear under the “My Courses” section of this website.

For this course, the the essay assignment is:

In 500-600 words, identify a key presupposition that leads to the many differences between progressive and conservative thought.  While identifying this presupposition, describe three differences between progressive and conservative thought that were presented in this course.

Please allow approximately 2 weeks for essay submissions to be reviewed.

By taking the course for certification credit, you also will be on your way to obtaining a Level 1 certification.

Please log in or register to enter your course code.

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