Fall 2020 - PHIL 121 D100

Global Justice (3)

Class Number: 3946

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM



An introduction to the ethical issues arising from interactions of states, NGOs and other international agents. Topics may include international human rights, terrorism, war, gender justice, climate justice, fairness in international trade, cultural diversity and conflict, the rights of indigenous peoples, collective responsibility and restitution for historical wrongdoing, among others. Students who have received credit for PHIL 220 cannot receive credit for this course. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


Every day, and mostly without thinking about it, we make choices that affect the lives of people around the globe: each of us effectively have dozens of “employees” – many of them children – who work for us under slavery-like conditions to produce the clothes we wear, the coffee we drink, and the cell phones we use to plot our plans for the weekend. While ours is a time of unprecedented possibilities for human progress, war, poverty, and tyrannical government continue to affect the majority of the world’s citizens on a day-to-day basis. This course will introduce you to the study of Global Justice, which is concerned with charting the structural sources of today’s problems and with proposing ways for moving forward. Possible topics of discussion include the morality of international trade, human rights and state sovereignty, gender justice, refugee rights, the challenges of climate change, and the rights of future generations.


PHIL 121 may be applied towards the Breadth-Humanities Requirement  OR the Breadth-Social Sciences Requirement  (but not both; student can choose which Breadth requirement to satisfy and plan enrollment in other courses accordingly).

Taking this course will help you:
·         Come to a better understanding of some of the most pressing political challenges of our time
·         Develop a conceptual tool kit for analyzing complex moral problems
·         Develop better skills at analyzing and presenting written arguments
·         Learn to respectfully debate deep and controversial questions in a public forum


  • First paper (900 words) 10%
  • Second paper, plus revision (1200 words) 25%
  • Third paper (1500 words) 30%
  • Weekly quizzes: 20% (cumulative) 20%
  • Tutorial participation (also includes short written in-class assignments) 15%


Course delivery: remote, synchronous (via Zoom or similar technological platform). Online presence is required during scheduled time for both lecture and tutorial.


Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



This course will meet over Zoom during the scheduled class period. Students will need a microphone and high-speed internet access that will allow them to view live video and contribute to discussions and class activities over audio. A camera is optional. Technical specifications for compatibility with Zoom are available here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362023-System-requirements-for-Windows-macOS-and-Linux#h_d278c327-e03d-4896-b19a-96a8f3c0c69c


All readings will be supplied by the instructor, or be available online.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).