PHI208 - Political Philosophy


This module will consider a variety of competing approaches to political philosophy and theories of justice. We will focus on the central ideas of liberty and equality, and consider a range of questions central to political theory, such as: Does liberty comprise lack of interference, or the ability to pursue our goals and projects? Should we try to ensure equality, or prioritise efficiency? Should we reward hard work and talent, or try to help the worst off and most in need? Should governments provide individuals with what they most want, or what would be good for them? Do those with disabilities require special treatment, or equal treatment? Do we owe animals anything? Should we permit harmful cultural practices (such as female genital cutting) if individuals freely choose to engage in them? Should there be any restrictions on how parents choose to educate their children?

Preparatory Reading

Plato Republic books 1-5


Two coursework essays and one exam.

Advised for:

Theories of Rights, Feminism.

Note: This course if not available to those taking PHI220


Ashley Taylor and Holly Lawford-Smith

Lectures: Spring Semester 2016-17

Tues 2-3

Weds 2-3

Seminars (starting from Week 3)

Thurs 11-12

Thurs 12-1