Political Philosophy - PHIL6190

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


Is 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? Should we think our duties to our compatriots are more important than our duties to people in other countries?

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as Rawls Theory of Justice, Nozick's libertarianism and the feminist and communitarian criticism of political liberalism. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, our obligations to those in the developing world, 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 recent case studies.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40


Also available under code PL618 (Level 5)

Method of assessment

Seminar Performance – 10%
Mid-term Essay – 40%
Final Essay – 50%

Indicative reading

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

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 6 students will be able to:

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;
Critically engage with texts in analytic philosophy in a way that is considered, reflective, and imaginative;
Write sustained arguments in analytic philosophy in a way that is careful, logical, structured and coherent.
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.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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