Dr. Ulrike Heuer
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue
- Week 1 – Reading a philosophical text (Jan 22-26)
- Week 2 - How to be good: Utilitarianism. (Jan 29-Feb 2)
- Week 3 – How to be good: Kantianism. (Feb 5-9)
- Week 4 – Liberty and equality (Feb 12-16)
- Week 5 – Liberty and equality (Feb 19-23)
- Week 6 – The Value of Democracy (Feb 26-Mar 2)
- Week 7 – Participation in Democracy (Mar 5-9)
- Week 8 – Multiculturalism and tolerance (Mar 12-16)
- Week 9 – Multiculturalism and tolerance (Apr 16-20)
- Week 10 – Political Obligation (Apr 23-27)
- Week 11 – Disobedience (Apr 30-May 4)
Week 1 – Reading a philosophical text (Jan 22-26)
Reading: Jim Pryor's guide to reading philosophy
We will spend session one reconstructing the argument, and assessing its validity. We will then spend session two considering possible responses to it. Please come to the first session with a clear idea of what Singer is trying to argue, and having given some thought to how we might formally reconstruct it.
Week 2 - How to be good: Utilitarianism. (Jan 29-Feb 2)
John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism Chapters 2, 4 and 5.
Discussion question: How, according to Mill, do we know which pleasures are ‘higher’? Is this a convincing argument?
Additional reading: Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, (2001) Mill's “Proof” of the Principle of Utility: A More than Half-Hearted Defense, Social philosophy and policy. ISSN: 0265-0525; 1471-6437 18(2): 330-360
Week 3 – How to be good: Kantianism. (Feb 5-9)
Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals ISBN: 0300094876 (pbk.) : £9.50; 0300094868.
Excerpt available in Additional Readings folder, but there are many free online versions, e.g.
You may find Jonathan Bennett’s ‘translation’ to modern language useful. Please remember, though, that this is only one person’s interpretation, and is not a replacement for the original text. If you quote Bennett’s version, quote it as Bennett, not Kant.
Discussion question: Why does Kant think that only actions done from the ‘good will’ have full moral value?
Week 4 – Liberty and equality (Feb 12-16)
Robert Nozick, Anarchy, state and utopia ISBN: 063119780X (pbk); 0631156801 Part II, Chapter 7 (‘Distributive Justice’) Section I.
Discussion question: Is Nozick right to say that ‘liberty upsets patterns’?
Additional reading: Jonathan Wolff, ‘Political Philosophy and the Real World of the Welfare State’ Journal of applied philosophy. ISSN: 0264-3758 32(4): 360-372
Week 5 – Liberty and equality (Feb 19-23)
Jennifer McKitrick, (2006) ‘Liberty, Gender and the Family’ in Tibor R. Machan (ed.), Liberty and justice ISBN: 0817947027 (alk. paper). Stanford: Hoover Institution Press. pp. 83-103. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (srj 10/01/2018) Available in Additional Readings folder.
Discussion question: In a society like ours, does full respect for liberty mean disadvantaging women and children?
Additional reading: G.A. Cohen, ‘Robert Nozick and Wilt Chamberlain: How patterns preserve liberty’ Erkenntnis. ISSN: 0165-0106 11: 5-23
Week 6 – The Value of Democracy (Feb 26-Mar 2)
Discussion question: Should voting be compulsory?
Week 7 – Participation in Democracy (Mar 5-9)
Philip Cook ‘Against a Minimum Voting Age’ Critical review of international social and political philosophy. ISSN: 1369-8230; 1743-8772 16 (3):439-458
Discussion question: If children are not allowed to vote, does that mean that adults should only be allowed to vote if they pass certain tests?
Additional reading: Jason Brennan, ‘Polluting the Polls: When Citizens should not vote’ Australasian journal of philosophy. ISSN: 0004-8402 87(4): 535-549
Week 8 – Multiculturalism and tolerance (Mar 12-16)
Kok-Chor Tan (Forthcoming) ‘The Contours of Toleration: A relational account’ in Manuel Knoll & Stephen Snyder (eds.), New Perspectives on Distributive Justice. Available in Additional Readings folder. - Available online: https://philpapers.org/rec/TANTCO-16
Discussion question: Does the appeal to relational morality solve the problem of toleration?
BREAK Mar 17-Apr 15
Week 9 – Multiculturalism and tolerance (Apr 16-20)
Discussion question: Is Okin right to say that feminism must take precedence over multiculturalism?
Additional reading: Chandran Kukathas, (2001) ‘Is feminism bad for multiculturalism?’ Public Affairs Quarterly 15(2): 83-98.Available in additional readings folder.
Week 10 – Political Obligation (Apr 23-27)
Discussion question: ‘We should obey the law because we consented to do so’. Discuss.
Week 11 – Disobedience (Apr 30-May 4)
Nelson Mandela, (1964) Statement in the Rivonia Trial (excerpts). Available in Additional Readings folder and online: http://www.anc.org.za/content/nelson-mandelas-statement-dock-rivonia-trial
Candice Delmas (2014) ‘Political Resistance: A Matter of Fairness’.
Discussion question: What limits does Mandela claim were placed on the ANC’s political violence? Are these reasonable?
This list was last updated on 08/01/2018