Social Justice (PHIL 273/002)

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Instructor: Stan Husi. This course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in Gardner 210.

What kind of society and what kind of social arrangements does justice demand? This course surveys the major philosophical approaches to that question. We are going to discuss whether society is to be arranged so as to maximize utility or overall preference satisfaction; or whether the equality (of opportunity, income, or well-being) among its citizens is the key factor; or whether justice demands that the rights of individual must be respected and never be violated; or whether individual desert and merit matter for social justice. Moreover, should we find multiple ideals to matter for justice, we are going to ask how to balance them, especially how to balance the social virtues of liberty, solidarity, and equality. We are going to look into the ideal of democracy and what it entails. The course is organized around hot contemporary social issues, beginning with Michael Sandel’s highly enjoyable survey “Justice.” In addition we are going to read a number of first rate essays collected in Goodin’s and Pettit’s anthology “Contemporary Political Philosophy.”

Stan Husi’s webpage