It is commonly said that justice requires giving people their due, but what are people due and in virtue of what? Is justice about maximizing happiness and minimizing harm? Is it about protecting
individual liberty? What about equality? What kind of equality? How should we conceive of equality across racial and gender lines? Are liberty and equality opposing political values? In a just society, how would basic liberties, educational opportunities, and income and wealth be distributed? We will pursue these questions by examining four leading theories in Western political thought – utilitarianism, libertarianism, egalitarian liberalism, and Marxism. To assess the strengths and weaknesses of these theories, we will discuss their implications for a range of controversial issues, including the regulation of sex, labor market regulations, public funding for education, affirmative action, and immigration.
Note: This course is room shared with Legal Studies 107
Instructor: Professor Christopher Kutz