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P345 Political and Social Philosophy

Professor: Marcia Baron
Credits: 3

What is a just society? We’ll discuss this by looking first at the topic of economic justice. Readings will be (in descending order of importance for our course) from Rawls, Nozick, and G.E. Cohen. We’ll also read and discuss Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach, which builds on Rawls (and draws also from Aristotle, J.S. Mill, Marx, and Amartya Sen) and focuses not only on justice but on individual flourishing. Nussbaum’s work also addresses tensions between giving cultural (and religious) differences their due and recognizing basic human rights. These tensions will be another focus in our course. Other topics to be examined are nationalism and cosmopolitanism, and (so-called) political correctness. Course requirements: two papers, one exam, and some quizzes and short homework assignments, as well as regular attendance.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course.

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