OverviewIs it right that the talented profit from their (undeserved) talents? Should the government provide compensation for people who find it hard to meet that special someone? Is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation a benevolent charity, or an unelected, unaccountable group wielding enormous political power?
This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as the sources and scope of political authority, and the ideals of equality and freedom. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as our obligations to those in the developing world, the circumstances under which one might legitimately employ civil disobedience, and the politics of immigration. We will consider whether we can make sense of political obligation between states as well as within states. We will look at these issues in the context of particular case studies, such as the recent debate over the showing of an anti-Islam film in the House of Lords, and the West's failure to intervene in Rwanda.
This module appears in:
2 hour lecture, 1 hour seminar for 10 teaching weeks
Also available under code PL618 (Level 5)
Method of assessment
Indicative Reading List
Goodin, R., and Pettit, P. (eds.), (1998) A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, London: Blackwell
Kymlicka, W. (2002) Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, New York: OUP
Wolff, J. (1996). An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Oxford: OUP
On successfully completing the module Level 6 students will be able to:
8.5 Demonstrate a critical appreciation of a number of philosophical topics such as the sources and scope of political authority, and the ideals of equality, fraternity, and freedom;
8.6 Critically engage with texts in analytic philosophy in a way that is considered, reflective, and imaginative;
8.7 Write sustained arguments in analytic philosophy in a way that is careful, logical, structured and coherent.
8.8 Demonstrate systematic understanding of issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as our obligations to those in the developing world, the role of a private sphere of action, and the politics of immigration.