Social Ethics and Political Thought (PHIL 170 Section 002)

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Instructor: Emily Crookston. This course meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in Caldwell 105.

This course is an introduction to some of the main themes in social and political philosophy. Because I think we risk “reinventing the wheel” if we attempt to do philosophy without taking into account the historical context of the problems and issues we are studying, we will begin by looking at the birth of political philosophy through the eyes of four great philosophers, i.e., Plato, Hobbes, Locke, and Mill. In the second part of the course we will examine the theory behind contemporary philosophical liberalism by studying work from philosophers including John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Ronald Dworkin, and Thomas Pogge. Lastly, we will study one specific application of liberalism: the question of whether there is a moral obligation to obey the law. Themes will include the nature of moral and political obligation, freedom and choice, the purpose of government, and the proper relationship between citizen and state.

Emily Crookston’s webpage