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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Political Philosophy MSc (PHIL11055)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will be divided into two related parts, each concerned in some way with contemporary liberalism. The first part will examine Rawls' theory of justice and his conception of political liberalism. The second part will address the question of what restrictions on individual liberty modern states are justified in imposing.
Course description PART I - Distributive Justice and Political Liberalism
1. Rawls I: Justice as Fairness
2. Rawls II: The Principles of Justice
3. Rawls III: The Original Position
4. The Basic Structure Objection
5. Political Liberalism and the Feminist Critique

PART II - The Limits of the State
6. Civil disobedience
7. Marriage
8. Immigration
9. Noxious markets
10. Voting
11. Freedom of Expression

Course is shared with undergraduate version Political Philosophy (PHIL10093)

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. knowledge of the work of John Rawls
  2. knowledge of the work of various critics of Rawls
  3. awareness of the considerations arising from various restrictions on liberty
  4. the ability to write an essay in political philosophy
  5. enhanced ability to articulate and defend one's own views on various political issues
Reading List
A representative list of readings is as follows:
- Kymlicka, W. Contemporary Political Philosophy (2nd edition)
- Rawls, J. A Theory of Justice (revised edition)
- Mill, J. S. The Subjugation of Women; On Liberty
- Swift, A. Political Philosophy
A representative list of readings is as follows:
- Kymlicka, W. Contemporary Political Philosophy (2nd edition)
- Rawls, J. A Theory of Justice (revised edition)
- Mill, J. S. The Subjugation of Women; On Liberty
- Swift, A. Political Philosophy
- Freeman, S. Rawls (Routledge, 2007)
- Daniels, N. (ed.) Reading Rawls (Standford, 1989).
- Freeman, S. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Rawls (CUP,
- Rawls, J. Justice as Fairness: A Restatement; Political Liberalism;
The Law of Peoples
- Okin, S. 'Forty Acres and a Mule' for Women: Rawls and
Feminism,' Politics, Philosophy & Economics 4 (2005), pp. 233-248.
- Cohen, G. A. 'Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive
Justice,' Philosophy and Public Affairs 26 (1), (1997), 3-30.
- Cohen, G. A. 'Incentives, Inequality and Community', The Tanner
Lectures on Human Values.
- Woodard, C. 'Cohen and the Basic Structure Objection', Acta
Politica, 35/3 (2000), 275-301.
- Lloyd, S. A. 'Family Justice and Social Justice,' Pacific
Philosophical Quarterly 75 (1994), pp. 353-371.
- Rawls, J. 'Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical,'
Philosophy and Public Affairs, 14/3, (1985), 223-251.
- Abbey, R. 'Back toward a Comprehensive Liberalism? Justice as
Fairness, Gender, and Families,' Political Theory 35 (2007), pp. 5-28.
- Hartley, C. & Watson, L. 'Is a Feminist Political Liberalism
Possible?', Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, 5/1.
- Sabl, A. 'Looking Forward to Justice: Rawlsian Civil Disobedience
and its Non-Rawlsian Lessons', Journal of Political Philosophy, 9/3
- Brownlee, K. 'Conscientious Objection and Civil Disobedience', in
Marmor, A. (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, 527- 539.
- Brake, E. 'Minimal Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for
Marriage Law,' Ethics 120(2), (2010), 302-337.
- Hartley, C. & Watson, L. 'Political Liberalism, Marriage and the
Family', Law and Philosophy 31/2 (2012),185-212.
- Blake, M. 'Immigration, Jurisdiction, and Exclusion', Philosophy &
Public Affairs, 41, (2013), 103-130.
- Wellman, C. H. 'Immigration and Freedom of Association', Ethics,
119/1, (2008), 109-141.
- Dummett, M. 'Immigration', Res Publica, 10/2, (2004), 115-122.
- Satz, D. Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale, chapters 4-6.
- Brennan, J. & Hill, L. Compulsory Voting: For and Against, chapter
2 or 8 (if unsure which to read: pick the one with which you disagree,
or think you¿re most likely to disagree).
- Lever, A. 'Compulsory voting: a critical perspective' British Journal of Political Science 40:897-915 (2010)
- Scanlon, T. 'A Theory of Freedom of Expression', Philosophy and
Public Affairs, 1/2 (1972), 204-226.
- Maitra, I. & McGowan, M. K. (eds.) Speech and Harm:
Controversies over free speech (OUP, 2012).

Full reading list available on Learn.
Additional Information
Course URL Please see Learn
Graduate Attributes and Skills Reading skills
Writing skills
Discussion skills
Additional Class Delivery Information The course will be taught by Dr Guy Fletcher.

KeywordsRawls,justice,liberalism,political liberalism,fairness
Course organiserDr Guy Fletcher
Tel: (0131 6)51 7112
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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