Philosophy 450: Seminar in Ethics, Political Philosophy and the Philosophy of Law


This course will examine some fundamental issues in political philosophy and the philosophy of law. The specific issues to be studies may vary, but will be selected from such topics as the state and society, rights and duties, justice and equality, freedom and punishment, the moral basis of political obligation, and the concept of law. The course will include both classical and contemporary authors.

The theme for 2002-2003 is 'rights and democracy'

Prerequisites: Senior standing in philosophy, political science, history, or sociology or, with the permission of the instructor, junior standing.

Course format: This is a 400 level course, and the format will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and seminar presentation.

Course Outline:

The object of this course will be to identify some different ways in which we might speak of 'democracy' and the notions of personhood and human rights that are suggested by, or implied in, them.

'Classical' sources

Contemporary sources

Method of evaluation: Students will be required to prepare two short written assignments or in-class presentations (one per term), 1-page 'commentaries' on the readings (biweekly), and a 15-20 page research essay (due in the second term), and to write a mid-year and final examination.


Strongly Recommended Books:

Method of Evaluation: