Philosophy 116

Spring 2004

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
116 Special Topics in Political Philosophy Scheffler Tu 2-5 TBA

This course will be taught in seminar format, with one weekly three-hour meeting and enrollment limited to fifteen students. The topic of the seminar will be global justice. Are there principles of justice that apply to the world as a whole? If there are no such principles, then who, if anyone, is responsible for the alleviation of global poverty? What becomes of the idea of human rights? And is there anything wrong with economic inequality between rich and poor nations? If, on the other hand, there are principles of global justice, then do they supplement or instead take the place of principles that apply to a single society? Are we ever justified in giving the interests of our compatriots priority over the interests of other people? In the absence of a world government, who might be responsible for implementing global principles?

The course is intended for juniors and seniors with substantial background in philosophy. Philosophy 115 or the equivalent is a prerequisite, and the course will presuppose familiarity with Rawls’ A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism. Course readings will be drawn from four books: Charles Beitz, Political Theory and International Relations, Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights, John Rawls, The Law of Peoples, and Peter Singer, One World. Students will be required to give one or more class presentations, to complete a short written assignment (1-2 pages) each week, and to write a final term paper of 12-15 pages. Active participation in class discussion is also a requirement.

Enrollment in the course is by consent of the instructor only. Students who are interested in enrolling should contact Professor Scheffler by e-mail before 5 p.m. on Monday, December 1. E-mails should be addressed to and should include “Philosophy 116 application” in the subject line. Those who contact Professor Scheffler before the deadline will receive an application form with more detailed instructions. Students will be informed by mid-December whether they are admitted to the course. Students who are admitted to the course and who attend the first class meeting will receive a class entry code and will be able to enroll through TELEBEARS during the first week of classes. Please note that since admission to the course is not guaranteed, students who need a philosophy course to graduate in Spring 2004 should have a backup plan for meeting that need.