PHIL 220 Social-Political Philosophy


What are the appropriate limits of state power? Should the state be able to forbid, say, my choice to use drugs, sell my kidney, or take money for sex? To censor my speech or tax my income? The answer varies according to one’s theory of justice – or view about the proper exercise of state force. This course introduces students to prominent theories of justice in an attempt to answer such questions. We will make our way from utilitarian to libertarian to egalitarian conceptions of justice. Throughout the semester, students will anchor their analyses in contemporary social and political issues. They will also fulfill part of their grade by preparing a debate on a social-political topic of interest. Possible debate topics include: Immigration, the Death Penalty, Abortion, Procreation, Surrogacy, Kidney markets, Meat-eating, Gun control, the Minimum Wage, and Affirmative action. Offered yearly.

Degree Requirements