THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO
DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY
Undergraduate Course Outline 2011-12
Philosophy 2801F: Contemporary Political Philosophy
Previously Philosophy 236F
Summer Day Term 2012 Instructor: Brian Lawson
Tu, Th, 10:00am-1:00pm Office: StvH 3124,
1SH - 3315 Office Hours: Tu, Th, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Email: [email protected]
This course introduces students to the dominant schools of thought in political philosophy that
emerged in the latter half of the 20th Century. Our philosophical focus will be on justice, freedom,
equality and community as ultimate values, or political ideals. After briefly looking at political
philosophies associated with classical utilitarianism, we will focus on 20 century liberal
egalitarian theory, particularly that of John Rawls. From there, we will examine the most
significant responses to and critiques of the liberal egalitarian picture of liberal democracy,
including but not limited to libertarianism, marxism, communitarianism, and feminist political
Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction 2 edition. (Oxford
University Press, 2002) Available from the UWO Bookstore.
A few readings that will be made available on the course WebCT site.
The aim of this course is to enable students to: 1) Identify the main problems and core questions in
contemporary political philosophy, 2) Interpret responses to the identified philosophical problems
and questions, 3) Undertake a critical examination and analysis of the major issues explored in the
readings and to analyze and assess the consistency and plausibility of the philosophies included in
the course readings, 4) Compare and contrast diverse philosophical positions within contemporary
political philosophy, 5) Compose logically consistent and persuasive essays showing an
understanding of relevant sources.
150% Two essays worth 25% each (approx. 6-7 pages each)
40% Final Exam
10% Participation Topics for essays will be announced at least one week before assignment due dates. Papers are due
at the beginning of class on the due date. Papers must also be submitted to turnitin (via our class
WebCT site) by midnight on the due date. Papers not submitted to turnitin will not be graded.
Late papers will be penalized 2% per day until submitted up to a maximum of two weeks. I will be