Political Ideas

This module examines central themes in the liberal branch of contemporary Anglo-American analytic political philosophy. The liberal positions on justice, liberty, equality, the state, power, rights and utility are all explored. The approach is philosophical rather than applied; focusing on the ideas of liberal politics: how individual liberty can be maximised while not harming others; how an individual philosophical position can guide political determinants of a society and places the developments of liberal ideas in their appropriate historical contexts.

The module also examines the connection between the ideas of liberalism and the idea of democracy to explore the philosophical tensions between the two and how these might be resolved.

The module will include among other topics: questions about justice: analytic philosophy and liberalism; visions of the state: liberalism, republicanism, socialism; liberty and individuality; liberalism and democracy; negative and positive liberty; equality; utility and rights; and toleration and multiculturalism: responses to diversity.