Philosophy 290-2

Spring 2011

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-2 Graduate Seminar: Democratic Authority Kolodny Tu 2-4 108 Wheeler

It is often thought that the fact that a collective policy has been democratically selected is a reason, of a moral character, in favor of complying, or not interfering, with it. Either the fact that a policy was democratically selected /strengthens /the objection that others have to one’s refusing to comply with it (or to one’s interfering with it), thereby adding to the case for one’s being morally /required /to comply (or to refrain from interfering) with it. Or it /weakens /the objection that one has to their doing otherwise objectionable things in pursuit of that policy (such as threatening coercive force), thereby adding to the case for their being morally /permitted /to do those things. Why? No doubt, the fact that a collective policy is /substantively good/—good in ways that do not depend on what individuals have decided, or think, about it—is a reason, often of a broadly moral character, to comply with it. But why should the fact that people /think /that the policy is good, or /choose /it, be a reason to comply with it? We will read work on these questions by Charles Beitz, Joshua Cohen, Thomas Christiano, and David Estlund.