PHIL 273.001 – Philosophical Perspectives on Justice

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Instructor: Gerald J. Postema. This course meets TR 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in CW 105.

Justice is said to be the first or foundational virtue of a decent society. That is, no society is decent or humane if many of its members suffer serious injustices. Yet, there is deep and pervasive disagreement in our society about what justice demands of individuals and the society as a whole. In this course, we will try to understand the fundamental dimensions of justice and explore debates over the content and demands of justice. We will begin orienting our thinking by looking at historical roots of the concerns of justice. Then we will explore several quite different theories of justice—that is, philosophical attempts to give a systematic account of the demands of justice—and ask how they illuminate the current debate over the health care system in the United States. Finally, we will consider what justice requires of us as a society and individuals when we disagree fundamentally about justice itself.