JH4 Political Philosophy

This course addresses some core questions in analytic political philosophy, and the practical as well as theoretical implications for political life and social organisation which follow from different answers to those questions. In particular, the course focusses on 1) different accounts of equality in political philosophy; 2) what is meant by liberty or freedom, and how (if it all) it can be measured; 3) how we should conceive of autonomy and its value; and 4) the nature and justification of democratic organisation.

Course lecturer: Dr James Humphries
Semester: 1
Lecture hour & venue: See Honours timetable

Teaching resources for this course will be made available on the Philosophy Moodle site.

Further course information

After this course, student should be able to:

  • Critically examine the nature and value of equality;
  • Assess competing distributive principles, such as sufficiency and priority;
  • Explain and critically discuss Berlin's distinction between different types of liberty;
  • Critically evaluate contemporary theories of negative liberty, of positive liberty, and of republican liberty;
  • Distinguish and explain different accounts of autonomy;
  • Compare and critically assess internalist and externalist, and procedural and substantive, theories of autonomy
  • Critically discuss the arguments for and against democratic decision making procedures;
  • Distinguish and contrast different models for democracy.