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Advanced Topics in Political Philosophy - PHI00083M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Martin O'Neill
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module will examine a range of historical and contemporary texts in political philosophy, giving students the opportunity to think and write about fundamental conceptual and normative problems relating to issues in politics and policy.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module will examine a range of core conceptual, normative, and methodological issues relating to philosophical approaches to thinking about politics. Readings will be drawn from a mixture of contemporary and historical authors. The module will also involve a methodological component, looking at questions of ‘realism’ and ‘moralism’, Ideal and Non-Ideal theory, and the relationship of political philosophy to public policy and the world of real politics. The module aims to develop academic skills in the reading of texts in political philosophy and the relating of those texts to real world political problems. As a result, the module aims to develop in students analytical skills of identifying and solving abstract problems, and relating theory and reality.

Module learning outcomes

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

  • Engage with and interpret historical and contemporary texts in political philosophy;

  • Apply philosophical thinking to real-world problems of politics;

  • Understand methodological debates about the nature of political philosophy and its relation to the world of politics;

  • be able to read and critically engage with a wide variety of complex and difficult material in recent political philosophy;

  • develop and defend a considered view on important questions of social justice.

Module content

The precise issues and philosophers studied will vary to some degree from year to year, depending on the interests of the lecturer, but indicative topics will include issues such as political obligation and legitimacy; the justification of the state; inequality, gender and sexism; race and racism; disability, discrimination and implicit bias; the nature of individual rights; and the justification of democracy. The module will also involve a methodological component, looking at questions of ‘realism’ and ‘moralism’, Ideal and Non-Ideal theory, and the relationship of political philosophy to public policy and the world of real politics.

Assessment

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

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

The formative essay is due on Friday, Week 7 of Autumn Term.

The summative essay is due on Monday, Week 1 of Spring Term.

Reassessment

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

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on formative work before the end of the term in which the module is taught.

Students will receive feedback on summative work 4 weeks after submission.

Indicative reading

G. A. Cohen, If You’re An Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich
Tommie Shelby, Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent and Reform
Philip Pettit, Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government
Elizabeth Anderson, The Imperative of Integration
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on the Origins of Inequality
David Leopold and Marc Stears, eds., Political Theory: Methods and Approaches



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.