PHIL 220 Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy

Fall Semester 2012 | Evening | Burnaby


INSTRUCTOR: Jennifer Warriner


Political philosophy considers normative questions about social and political organization. That is, political philosophy asks: how should we organize and justify our political institutions, so that individuals can lead good lives? In this course, we will first examine what kind of political community we ought to live in and how the individual must relate to the political community. For example, is our political community founded upon a social contract? Must the individual consent to political authority? What rights and obligations (if any) do individuals possess? In the latter part of the course, we will consider the values that ought to organize political communities. For example, should our political communities seek to promote or embody justice? Equality? Liberty? Throughout the course, we will consider both historical and contemporary thinkers, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, John Rawls, Susan Okin, Will Kymlicka, Robert Nozick, and Martha Nussbaum.


  • An Introduction to Political Philosophy, revised edition, Jonathan Wolff, Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN: 978-0199296095
  • Handouts to be distributed online


  • Three papers, worth 20%, 25%, and 30%, respectively
  • Final registrar-scheduled exam - 25%

 All papers must be submitted to