PHIL 463.001 – Contemporary Moral and Social Problems

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Instructor: Bernard Boxill. This course meets W 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in CW 208.

Republican theorists like Philip Pettit and Quentin Skinner tell us that domination in certain circumstances violates a most important kind of liberty and also tends to make the dominated servile.  It is also generally supposed that those treated unjustly naturally resent those who treated them unjustly. In this course we will explore the meanings and various relations between these claims.  For example what is domination; what is the kind of liberty it violates and why this kind of liberty is so important; what are the circumstances in which domination breeds servility in the dominated; what is servility; what is resentment and other related negative attitudes; what is forgiveness; what does it mean to say that injustice arouses resentment; are resentment and servility related in some interesting way; and so on. We will start off reading some essays by the best known of the republicans like Pettit, Skinner, Lovett and others; also of course the best of the many responses to those essays. There are a great many to choose from and I think it will be better for our purposes to read the essays rather than the book. Then we will do some essays on injustice and resentment, especially those of Strawson, Jeffrie Murphy, Jean Hampton, and others. On servility the best of course is Hill’s.   There seems to be no good reason to have you buy a text since the articles are available electronically in the journals.