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Social Justice & Political Economy - PHI00071M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Martin O'Neill
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This module will examine contemporary debates about social justice, attending to issues at the intersection of political philosophy and political economy. It will examine questions about economic regimes, and the choice between economic systems (including capitalism and socialism), paying close attention to the relationship between social justice and economic policies and institutions

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module will examine a number of questions at the intersection of political philosophy and political economy, investigating the demands of social and economic justice, and the practical policies and institutions that would be needed in order to meet these demands. This module will give students an advanced introduction to a range of debates that cross over disciplinary boundaries between philosophy, politics, economics, and law, and will equip them to assess the attractions and shortcomings of various institutional and policy proposals, and to make their own contribution to debates about the future of capitalism.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Engage with and interpret contemporary texts in political philosophy, as well as related texts in politics, economics, and law;

  • Apply philosophical thinking to real-world problems of institutional design and public policy;

  • Understand the relationship between political philosophy and political economy in debates on social and economic justice.

  • Read and critically engage with a wide variety of complex and difficult material in recent political philosophy and related disciplines;

  • Develop and defend a considered view on important institutional and policy questions.

Module content

Topics to be covered may include property-owning democracy, democratic socialism, defences and critiques of market mechanisms, universal basic income and universal basic capital, monetary theory and monetary policy, financial policy and regulation.


Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

All feedback will be returned in line with current University and Departmental policy.

Indicative reading

Alan Thomas, Republic of Equals: Predistribution and Property-Owning Democracy

John Tomasi, Free Market Fairness

Debra Satz, Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale

Martin O’Neill and Thad Williamson, eds, Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond

Elizabeth Anderson, Private Government

Philippe Van Parijs, Real Freedom for All: What (if Anything) Could Justify Capitalism

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.