PHIL 320 Social and Political Philosophy

Fall Semester 2011 | Day


INSTRUCTOR  Sam Black, WMC 5608



  • Contemporary Debates in Political Philosophy, T. Christiano (Ed.), Wiley



This is an intermediate level survey course in political philosophy. It provides students with a systematic overview of the contemporary philosophical landscape by relying on papers written especially for this volume. Each topic is presented from at least two opposing points of view. The heart of the course concerns disputes about various norms associated with liberal democratic states. Topics include: the justification for the distribution of wealth, the warrant for basic civil liberties, as well as the moral foundation for democracy and the rule of law.

Students should expect to read about 2-3 papers per week, and to have fun. This course is an excellent preparation for law school, and for the study of constitutional law in particular.



  • One lecture per week for a total of three hours.



  • Four short assignments - 30%
  • One 2500 word paper - 40%
  • One final exam - 30%

NOTE: Prerequisite: PHIL 120 or 220.

NOTE: No Nonsense Paper Policy: in the interest of preserving a level playing field students submitting late papers without prior arrangement or a doctor's note will be penalized. Students caught plagiarizing or otherwise cheating will normally be recommended for suspension from the university.