Search results - Introduction to Political Philosophy
London Road Campus
|Dates||Wed 3 Oct to Wed 5 Dec 2012|
Time of meeting: 7.00-9.00pm
Number of meetings: 10
|Application status||Course ended|
|Course contact||If you have any questions about this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.|
OverviewWe explore and compare the leading theories of political philosophy. These ideas are then applied to a range of pressing issues including wealth redistribution, third world aid, punishment, war & terrorism, and threats to mankind's survival.
DescriptionThis course offers a thorough grounding in Political Philosophy. The central theoretical issues are explored, including: J.S.Mill's Utilitarianism; John Rawls’ highly influential book A Theory of Justice; luck egalitarianism; conservatism; Libertarianism & the minimal state of Robert Nozick; Left-Libertarianism; rights; democracy; and the nature of markets, money and capital. Whilst exploring these ideas we examine their implications for whether, and to what extent, wealth should be redistributed, both within the state, and from richer nations to poorer nations. We also pay close attention to the implications of each thoery for future generations, particularly with regard to potential threats to their survival and quality of life, such as exhaustion of natural resources, pollution and global warming. We go on to discuss rights; crime and punishment; when war might be justified; and the response to domestic and international terrorism.
No prior knowledge of philosophy is required for this course, only a willingness to think rationally, question and learn, coupled with an interest in the important political issues of today.
Programme detailsWeek 1: Introduction to Philosophical Method. Course overview. Ronald Dworkin’s theory of Luck Egalitarianism attempts to combine personal responsibility for those things that individuals can control, with equality of those things that individuals cannnot control. His theory is explained.
Week 2: Luck Egalitarianism is compared to other versions of egalitarianism. We then explore the relationship between money, markets, capital, desert and luck.
Week 3: John Rawls is the most influential political philosopher of the twentieth century, and is central to the contemporary liberal tradition. His work is explained, examined and criticised.
Week 4: What rights do we have? What implications do they have? What is the relationship between democracy, rights and the redistribution of wealth?
Week 5: Libertarians such as Robert Nozick prioritise freedom, arguing for a minimal state. Do their arguments work?
Week 6: Who owns natural resources & the natural environment? What about future generations? An exploration of the new theory of ‘Left-Libertarianism’.
Week 7: Utilitarianism advocates maximising total happiness, and is the most influential political theory, but does it stand up to scrutiny? Can it be modified in a way which makes it defensible?
Week 8: Crime & punishment. When is punishment justified? What form should punishment take & how severe should it be? What rights do criminals have? Is capital punishment wrong?
Week 9: How should we deal with terrorism? Are detention without trial, torture & assassination ever justified?
Week 10: When is war justified? Is there a duty to free oppressed peoples?
Dworkin, Ronald Sovereign Virtue
Farrelly,Colin Introduction to contemporary political theory
Farrelly,Colin Contemporary political theory: a reader
Miller, David Political Philosophy: A very short introduction
Rawls, John A Theory of Justice
Otsuka, Mike Libertarianism without inequality
Nozick, Robert Anarchy, State & Utopia
J.S.Mill Utilitarianism & On LIberty
Onora O'Neill Towards Justice and Virtue
Mr Daniel Dennis
Dan Dennis has a degree in Engineering, an MA in Philosophy and will shortly complete his PhD in Philosophy. He has written widely on Ethics,...more
Course aimsCourse Aim:
To help participants understand the most important ideas in political philosophy and how they can be applied to the pressing political problems we face today.
1. To introduce participants to the most important elements of political philosophy.
2. To teach participants to employ key ideas, arguments and distinctions from political philosophy in their own thinking and decision making.
3. To help participants to think clearly and rigorously about the issues in question, and to back up their claims with arguments.
Assessment methodsStudents write either four short assignments of 250 words each, or a 1000 word essay. They will receive friendly, sympathetic, helpful and constructive feedback.
Teaching methodsThere will be a friendly co-operative approach to the issues with which this course confronts us. Students will be presented with ideas, arguments, thought experiments and examples, which they will be encouraged to question, discuss, reflect on and write about.
Teaching outcomesBy the end of the course students will be expected to:
1. Be able to understand and express a variety of key ideas and arguments in Political Philosophy.
2. Have improved their skills in analysing and evaluating ideas and arguments.
3. Be able to argue clearly and rationally about issues dealt with in the course, especially where these connect with their own views.
- Programme Fee
- Home/EU fee: £145.00
- Non-EU fee: £145.00