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PHIL 324: Social and Political Philosophy · PHIL 324: Social and Political Philosophy (Winter 2013) 3 of 8! • Be in your seat ready to participate at the beginning of class, and

Jul 01, 2018




  • PHIL 324: Social and Political Philosophy (Winter 2013) 1 of 8

    PHIL 324: Social and Political Philosophy Winter 2013: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 12:301:20 pm. HH 139 Professor: Mathieu Doucet Office: Hagey Hall 328 Email: Phone: 888-4567 ext 32824 Office hours: Mon, Wed 2:003:00, or by appointment or by chance

    Course website: Through LEARN

    Course Description The state has a remarkably wide-ranging influence on our lives. It tells us what we cannot do and what we must do, provides us with benefitssuch as health care, education, and clean waterand makes significant demands of ussuch as paying taxes, voting, and obeying the law. What is it that makes the states exercise of this power legitimate (if anything)? This course explores various aspects of this question, including: what kind of political system is most just? Is economic inequality unjust? If so, why? How should a multicultural society (like ours) handle the many competing demands of the cultural groups that live within it? What obligationsif anydo wealthy nations have toward the nations of the developing world? Does justice require wealthy liberal democracies to intervene militarily in the affairs of undemocratic states?

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    How the course will work In part because of the wide-ranging influence politics has on our lives, almost all of us have opinions about it. One of the aims of the course is to put those opinions to the testto see whether they hold up to rational examination, and so to explore the ways that philosophy is relevant for understanding important political challenges of our day.

    This means that the aim is to have a student-centered and student-led course, where youthe students in the classset the agenda, decide what we talk about, and lead discussion. I will therefore aim to do relatively little lecturing in classinstead, my role will be to facilitate discussion. In part, this will be done through the online discussion portion of the class, where you will be able to pose questions and suggest example for discussion in class. Class meetings will involve some lecture, but will be mostly given over to discussion of the readings and their application to contemporary political issues.

    The course will be successful if you take this responsibility seriously, and take the time to prepare for discussion by carefully considering the readings and participating in prepare for class. My responsibility in turn is to ensure that discussion is focused, and to ensure that the connections between the philosophical texts we read and the political issues we discuss is made clear. Learning Objectives (What you should get out of the course): By the end of the course, you should be able to:

    a. Summarize and distinguish several of the central concepts and positions in social and political philosophy.

    b. Clearly explain, in speech and in writing, key concepts and arguments in social and political philosophy.

    c. Apply positions and concepts from social and political philosophy to contemporary political debates and challenges.

    d. Critically evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, implications, and assumptions of positions and arguments in social and political philosophy.

    This course will help develop the skills to: e. Read and critically evaluate arguments in philosophical texts. f. Write clear, well-structured explanations and assessments of philosophical

    arguments. g. Understand and evaluate the complex political debates of our day.

    Learning Activities (What you should do to get it): In order to achieve these objectives, you should:

    Do the readings prior to class. What you get out of the class is proportionate to what you put into it. Many of the readings are relatively short, but they can be difficult. You will get the most out of the class if you read them carefully and more than once, both before and after the class.

    Read the discussion questions and case studies that your classmates post online. Bring your copy of the texts to class.

  • PHIL 324: Social and Political Philosophy (Winter 2013) 3 of 8

    Be in your seat ready to participate at the beginning of class, and remain until the end of class.

    Participate in discussion and debateask and answer questions, offer arguments and objections, and share your views.

    Take notes in class and review them. Restrict the use of your laptop in class to taking notes and reviewing readings. Refrain entirely from the use of cell phones, including for texting. (Just put them

    away for 50 minutes.) Ask questions when you are unclear about concepts. Put serious thought into your assignments, including the online discussion. Finally, come to class ready to participate in a discussion about interesting and

    important questions about justice and politics. Text Jonathan Wolff, Introduction to Political Philosophy, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 2006. Available in the University Bookstore.

    This text is entirely unchanged since the first edition. There are many used copies of both editions available online through,, and other online retailers. You should feel free to buy a used copy of either edition if you can.

    All other readings for the course will be made available online through LEARN. Method of Assessment Work required Percentage of final grade Due date Online discussion 10% Throughout the term (see below) Midterm paper 20% Final paper 40% Midterm quiz (online) 15% Monday, February 25th Final quiz (online) 15% Monday, April 8th

    Online discussion (10%) Discussion questions (5%)

    5 times over the course of the term, you must post a question for discussion in class on the Discussion Questions discussion board. Questions need to relate to the next meetings reading, but are otherwise open-endedthey can ask for clarification, propose an objection, suggest a possible interpretation of an argument, or explore the connection between the reading and some contemporary political event or debate.

    Questions must be posted by 4:00 pm the day prior to the relevant reading. For example, questions on Heaths More democracy, which we discuss on Monday, Jan 21st, must be posted by Sunday, Jan 20th at 4:00 pm. This gives everyone in the class ample time to read the questions prior to class.

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    Questions for readings that are discussed over more than one class must be posted prior to the first class in which the reading will be discussed. (The exceptions are Rawls and Nozick, since we will discuss different selections in each meeting.)

    You must post at least 5 questions, and at least 1 question per course module. Since there are only 4 modules, you must post at least 2 questions in at least 1 of the modules.

    If your question shows evidence of having done the reading and is relevant to the topic, you receive 1% credit, up to a maximum of 5%. (You are of course free to post more than 5 questions.)

    The purpose of the questions is to guide class discussion. Not all questions will be discussed in all meetings, but If you post a question on the discussion board, you should be prepared to elaborate on it in class as a way of leading into discussion. This means that if you are not in class to discuss a question you have posted, you will not receive credit.

    Case studies (5%)

    5 times over the course of the term, you must post an example/case study on the Case Studies discussion board prior to class. These are even more open ended than the discussion questionsthey need to relate to the modules topic, but the source is up to you. Some suggestions are: a link to a news story about a current event relevant; a link a news story from the distant (or not so distant) past; a link to a blog post; a link to a film or television clip; novels or poems; images that illustrate the modules topic, etc Be creative, and find examples youd be passionate about discussingthe idea is to come up with examples that will generate discussion and where the philosophical theories we are reading are relevant to real political issues.

    Case studies must be posted by 4:00 pm of the day prior to the 5th class meeting of each module. (The exception is if you are posting a second case study in a module.)

    You must post at least 1 case study per course module. Since there are only 4 modules, you must post at least 2 case studies in at least 1 of the modules.

    The purpose of the case studies is to guide class discussion. Not all case studies will be discussed in all meetings, but If you suggest a case study, you should be prepared to elaborate on it in the next meeting of class as a way of leading into discussion. This means that if you are not in class to discuss the case study you have posted, you will not receive credit.

    Papers The first paper (worth 20%) will be 3 pages in length, and is due on Friday,

    February 15th by 5:00 pm. The final essay (worth 40%) will be approximately 6 pages in length. The paper is

    due Friday, April 12th by 11:59 pm. Papers submitted after April 12th but prior to Sunday, April 14th at 11:59 pm will not receive late penalties, but will not receive comments.

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    All late papers are subject to a penalty of 5% per day. No late submissions will be accepted once graded assignments have been returned to the class.

    Essay questions will be made available at least 2 weeks prior to the due date. All papers must be submitted online via LEARN in the relevant Dropbox in one of

    the following file formats: .doc, .docx, .rtf, or PDF. Hard copes will not be accepted.

    Essays must be prepared for anonymous review. This means that you should not include your name anywhere on the paper, or in the file name of the document you submit to the Dropbox.

    Quizzes (30%) The quizzes will be completed online through LEARN. Each quiz will be available for 24 hours, and you will have a total of 1 hour to complete it from the time you begin. The mid-term quiz will cover material from the first 2 modules of the course, while the end of term quiz will cover material from the last two modules. Each quiz is worth 15% of the final grade.

    Special arrangements request form: If circumstances in your life pose an obstacle to your getting your work in on time, you may complete a special arrangements request form (available on the LEARN site for the course) to propose an alternative arrangement. This form must be submitted 48 hours before the due date for the work. Submitting the form doesn't guarantee that your proposed special arrangement will be approved. However, the professor will give all requests serious consideration. Special arrangements requests received after this 48 hour cut-off will not be considered without medical or similar documentation.

    LEARN SITE AND EMAIL: The LEARN site is an important component of the learning environment for the class. It is where you will submit your assignments, discussion questions, and case studies, complete the online quizzes, and find several of the readings for the course, the most up-to-date version of this syllabus, links to further readings, and helpful links for writing philosophy assignments. It is the individual students responsibility to check the LEARN site on a regular basis. I will occasionally send students emails regarding class discussions, readings, assignments, andshould they ariselast minute emergencies that affect a scheduled lecture. I will also return marked assignments via email. If you would rather receive these emails at another account then you must update your WatIAM entry. To do so, follow this link: Log in and then click Update Profile. Then, select the Email configuration tab. It is your responsibility to stay current with course news by regularly checking whichever email account is listed on your WatIAM entry. I aim to respond to emails within 24 hours on business days. I typically do not respond to emails on the weekend. To ensure a prompt response, put PHIL 324 in the subject line of the email (along with the subject of the email, if appropriate).

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    Schedule of Topics and Readings The final schedule of readings is subject to fine-tuning, with notice. Students are responsible for doing the assigned reading before the corresponding class. Class discussions are intended to supplement, problematize, and clarify the readings, not to replace them. All readings other than chapters from Wolff will be available on LEARN.

    Introduction: Mon, Jan 7: Intro, no readings

    1. Preliminaries: Authority and Democracy Political Authority: Wed, Jan 9: Wolff, Ch. 1 Fri, Jan 11: Wolff, Ch. 2 (pp. 35-48) Mon, Jan 14: Wolff, Ch. 2 (pp. 49-61) Democracy: Wed, Jan 16: Wolff, Ch. 3 (pp. 63-75) Fri, Jan 18: Wolff, Ch. 3 (pp. 76-103)

    o Open enrollment ends Mon, Jan 21: Heath, More democracy

    2. Distributive Justice: Wed, Jan 23: Wolff, Ch. 5 (pp. 133-152) Fri, Jan 25: Wolff, Ch. 5 (pp. 153-168); Rawls, Theory of Justice (selections)

    o Last day to drop a course with 100% refund and no penalty Mon, Jan 27: Rawls, ToJ, (selections) Wed, Jan 29: Rawls, ToJ, (selections) Fri, Jan 31: Wolff, Ch. 5 (pp. 169-176); Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia

    (selections) Mon, Feb 3: Nozick, ASU (selections) Wed, Feb 5: Nozick, ASU (selections) Fri, Feb 7: Scanlon, Libertarianism and liberty Mon, Feb 11: Cohen, Where the action is Sections I and II Wed, Feb 13:Cohen, Sections III-V Fri, Feb 15: Cohen, continued.

    o Midterm paper due

    Feb. 18-22nd: Reading Weekno class Friday, Feb, 22nd: Deadline for 50% tuition refund

    3. Multiculturalism Mon, Feb 25: Wolff, Ch. 6

    o Midterm quiz (online) Wed, Feb 27: Heath, The myth of shared values Fri, Mar 1: Kymlicka, The new debate over minority rights Mon, Mar 4: Kymlicka, The theory and practice of immigrant multiculturalism

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    Wed, Mar 6: Kymlicka, continued Fri, Mar 8: Kukarthas, Liberalism and multiculturalism Mon, Mar 11: Kukarthas, contined Wed, Mar 13: Okin, Is multiculturalism bad for women? Fri, Mar 15: Okin, continued

    4. Global Justice Mon, Mar 18: Singer, The Singer solution Wed, Mar 20:Pogge, Real World justice Fri, Mar 22: Pogge, continued

    o Drop period 1 ends. Last day to drop with a grade of WD Mon, Mar 25: Nagel, The problem of global justice Wed, Mar 27: Nagel, (continued) Fri, Mar 29: No classGood Friday Mon, Apr 1: Teson, Eight principles for humanitarian intervention Wed, Apr 3: Teson, continued Fri, Apr 5: Coady, The dilemmas of militant humanitarianism Mon, Apr 8: Wertheim, When humanitarianism hurts

    o Final quiz (online)

    Friday, Apr 12: Term Paper due

  • PHIL 324: Social and Political Philosophy (Winter 2013) 8 of 8

    The Fine Print: Academic Integrity: In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. Discipline: A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing academic offences, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about rules for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, academic advisor, or the Undergraduate Associate Dean. When misconduct has been found to have occurred, disciplinary penalties will be imposed under Policy 71 Student Discipline. For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71 - Student Discipline, Grievance: A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4, Appeals: A student may appeal the finding and/or penalty in a decision made under Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances (other than regarding a petition) or Policy 71 - Student Discipline if a ground for an appeal can be established. Read Policy 72 - Student Appeals, Academic Integrity website (Arts): Academic Integrity Office (University): Accommodation for Students with Disabilities: Note for students with disabilities: The Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD), located in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with the OPD at the beginning of each academic term.

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