PHIL 170.001 – Liberty, Rights, and Responsibilities: Introduction to Social Ethics and Political Thought

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Instructor: Simone Gubler. This course meet MWF 12:20 – 1:10 p.m. in MU 105.

Today, we find ourselves living in a democratic state. None of us caused the United States to be a democracy, but we all live here, nonetheless, under a democratic regime. And because the American state is not something given to us by nature, but something made by human beings like us, we stand in a special relation to it. We can look at our present political situation as a product of human choices, and we can ask searching questions: Why is our present system of government the way it is? Should we, the inheritors of this system of social organization, change it? Should we replace it altogether?

In this class, we will examine different traditions of human governance and social organization, and ask questions about the origin, nature, and justification of central political concepts such as power, freedom, equality, justice, and rights.