The Dennes Room

Philosophy 290-5

Fall 2020

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-5 Graduate Seminar: Justice, Social Structure, and Structural Injustice Munoz-Dardé Th 10-12 Moses 234

The seminar comes into two, related, parts:

  1. The aim of the first part of the seminar is to engage with A Theory of Justice. John Rawls radically altered the ways in which philosophers think about the question ‘How should we live together?’, and was key in re-orienting us towards thinking of justice in social terms. We will pay particular attention to Rawls’s critique of utilitarianism, and to the notion of a Basic Structure as the primary subject of justice. There will be a session led by Wes Holliday devoted to Arrow’s criticism of Rawls’s theory.

  2. The second part of the seminar is devoted to the idea of structural injustice, and idea that raises, according to some, a concern of justice which Rawls doesn’t address. We will focus in particular on how the actions and interactions of individuals affect this specific form of injustice.

Course readings:

Part 1: A Theory of Justice (revised edition), Justice as Fairness: a Restatement, Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. The Cambridge Companion to Rawls.

Part 2: Readings by, among others: G.A. Cohen, Gina Schouten, Tommie Shelby, Judith Thomson, Bernard Williams, Iris Marion Young.

This course is intended for graduate students in philosophy, but advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission.


  1. Enrolled students are required to meet with me to discuss a two-page outline of their term paper by November 14, and

  2. All enrolled students are required to write a term paper of 15– 20 pages, due December 12.