Major Texts in Philosophy (PHIL*4400)
Term: Fall 2014
One of the distinguishing challenges of contemporary political philosophy is to contend with the unprecedented interconnection and interdependence of our socio-economic and political global reality. This global reality is no longer ‘modern’ in the sense of being comprised of territorially defined nation states that exclusively frame social relations and communities. It is one, rather, that amplifies the scope and depth of our actions in unforeseen and immeasurable new ways.
This has given new urgency to the age-old questions concerning responsibility and obligation. For instance, what are our responsibilities to others given these new circumstances? Do our responsibilities need to be rethought? Are traditional paradigms adequate to think about responsibilities in the age of interconnection? How should we think of responsibility or obligation when faced with social injustice? Does our responsibility primarily consists in duties of institutional and structural justice. That is to say, does our participation in unjust institutions and structures give rise to political responsibilities in us? Or, do we have individual responsibilities to compatriots, foreign nationals, and ‘distant others’ in need? Are these models of responsibility complementary or incompatible? If they are compatible, is one model prior to the other? In this course, we will attempt to answer these and related questions.
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