Social & Political Philosophy (PHIL*4320)
Term: Winter 2013
This course asks what justice requires in an increasingly globalized world. Social and
political philosophers used to assume the existence of bounded states with fixed
borders and closed citizenship. But the increasing economic, political, and
environmental interdependence of different regions and peoples of the world has
rendered these assumptions all but obsolete. Traditional theories of political justice that
hold to a conventional ideal of sovereignty may thus fail to grasp the global dimensions
of citizenship and states’ as well as citizens’ obligations. They may also overlook the
global impact of humanitarian and environmental crises, and the ethical duties that
arise from these.
We will take up several theoretical approaches to the problem of global justice:
cosmopolitan perspectives, nationalist and communitarian approaches, and
contractarian views, as well as post‐colonial and feminist responses to these theories.
Authors include Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Richard Rorty, Peter Singer, David Miller,
Thomas Pogge, Gillian Brock, Simon Caney, Charles Beitz, Martha Nussbaum, Alison
Jaggar, and Joseph Carens.