Seminar in Moral, Political, and Social Philosophy

The aim of this module is to develop the skills and virtues of a postgraduate-level philosopher and scholar of philosophy, by guided practice in close reading and reasoned discussion of selected works in moral, political, and social philosophy. No attempt at broad survey will be made. The module will instead be run as a reading group on a small number of high-quality texts, to be chosen in consultation with those taking it each year. Seminars will be moderated discussions of set reading introduced by a student presentation or by the convenor. Assessment will be by 5,000 word essay on a topic chosen by the individual student and developed in consultation with the convenor.

‘Moral, political, and social philosophy’ will be understood broadly, to cover historical and contemporary philosophical work on topics including, but not limited to: modernity, capitalism, liberalism, and alternative possibilities; the nature of human rights; individuality, community, and cultural difference; political authority and the authority of law; nationhood, borders, and cosmopolitanism; human well¬being; freedom and global unfreedoms; equality and global inequalities; utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethics; the natures of value, of agency, and of practical rationality.

Possible texts include, for example:

Erik Olin Wright, Envisioning Real Utopias (Verso 2010)
Iris Marion Young, Justice & the Politics of Difference (Princeton University Press 2011)
Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, Democracy & Capitalism (Basic Books 1986)
Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics (Harvard University Press 1993)
James Griffin, Well-Being (Clarendon Press 1986)
Peter Railton, Facts, Values, and Norms (Cambridge University Press 2003)
Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness (Cambridge University Press 1986)
Christine M. Korsgaard et al., The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge University Press 1996)
Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Clarendon Press 1986)
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self (Cambridge University Press 1989)
J. David Velleman, The Possibility of Practical Reason (Oxford University Press 2000)
Nomy Arpaly, Unprincipled Virtue (Oxford University Press 2003)
Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (University of California Press 1994)
Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights (Polity Press 2002)
Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Oxford University Press 1999)