Philosophy 290-5

Fall 2007

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-5 Graduate Seminar: Rawl’s Theory of Justice Munoz-Dardé M 2-4 234 Moses Hall

The purpose of the seminar is to present and assess Rawls’s seminal book in its entirety, as a single project, placing it in its historical and ethical wider context. This will allow us a.) to highlight the importance of Rawls’s ambition to rival classical utilitarians in shaping the form of his theory; and b.) to bring to light how TJ constitutes a systematic theory embracing moral doctrines and social and economic facts, at the same time placing them in a contractualist framework.

The seminar will focus on Rawls’s conception of justice, as developed in the revised edition of A Theory of Justice (TJ), and Justice as Fairness a Restatement (JRF). JFR is a succinct, revised statement of the idea of justice as fairness. In it, Rawls recasts the basic arguments for the two principles central to his conception of justice, responds to common objections, but also corrects what he came to see as mistakes in TJ. By going back and forth between TJ and the mature statement of the theory in JRF, the seminar will address interpretative questions regarding the very idea of Justice as Fairness, the Original Position and the knowledge that the parties are in possession of or deprived from, the idea of Reflective Equilibrium, the Basic Structure as subject, the Difference Principle, Reasonable Overlapping Consensus, and the difference between Political Liberalism and Comprehensive Liberalism.