Theories of Justice (PHIL*3230) | College of Arts

Theories of Justice (PHIL*3230)

Code and section: PHIL*3230*01

Term: Winter 2020

Instructor: Monique Deveaux


This course examines some of the main contemporary theories of justice and some critical responses to them. We will look at different philosophical arguments for how to distribute resources and opportunities fairly and justly, both at the domestic or state level and globally.  We will also consider whether, in a diverse society, justice may require special recognition and accommodation of cultural and religious group-based differences. Among the theories of justice we will consider are those of liberal distributional justice; libertarianism; the capability approach to justice; the recognition theory of justice; and global egalitarianism. The key thinkers whose work we will take up are John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Martha Nussbaum, Iris Young, Tommie Shelby, Phillips Van Parijs, Amartya Sen, Glen Coulthard, Susan Okin, and Gillian Brock.


Course outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.