What are all these “isms” that pervade political discourse? What does it mean to be a liberal (or a “progressive”), a libertarian, conservative, communitarian, socialist, or feminist? Where do liberal and radical feminists agree and disagree? Why is a democratic socialist not a Marxist and vice versa? Is “environmentalism” a comprehensive political stance? Should there be a “green” party? What separates a nationalist from a “fascist”? Generally: what ideas, perspectives and principles account for these divergent doctrines that compete to organize the political world? Why do people adopt these views? Are there rational grounds for choosing among them? Is there a rational foundation for political life or, to put it another way, is political philosophy possible? Or are all claims to political knowledge ideological assertions? This course examines questions like these, although the list is not at all exhaustive. Not offered every year.