Methods and Problems in Political Philosophy

Herlinde Pauer-Studer, Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna

OUTLINE

This course discusses different methodological paradigms of political philosophy and their normative consequences with respect to some crucial issues in political philosophy. The main objectives of the course are: to provide an overview of normative foundations of political philosophy; to make you acquainted with different methodological approaches to central problems of political philosophy; to explore the relevance and strength of philosophical analysis of central issues in political theory and to make you familiar with current debates in political philosophy.     

We will discuss the following problems: the justification of political authority; the normative foundations of ‘a rightful’ political order; conceptions of justice; freedom and autonomy; the metric of equality and distributive justice; public reason and democracy; civic responsibility under authoritarian and totalitarian political conditions. We will explore those questions by discussing relevant selections of readings, including texts by classical and contemporary philosophers. 

DATES

January 22-26,2018.

TEACHING FELLOW: Lucas Petroni, University of São Paulo

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This course discusses different methodological paradigms of political philosophy and their normative consequences. We will compare three basic models: a Hobbesian justification of political authority, a Kantian account of the normative foundations of ‘a rightful’ political order, and a Humean convention-based approach to social systems. We will then analyze and discuss conceptions of justice, freedom and equality, public reason and democracy. A further topic is global justice. Finally, we will look at civic responsibility under authoritarian and totalitarian political conditions.          

Course Plan

1.  Philosophical Foundations of Society and State Authority

2. Self-Interest, Impartiality, and Rational Agreement: Conceptions of Justice

3. Freedom and Autonomy

4. The Metric of Equality and Distributive Justice

5. Equality and Freedom

6. Global Justice 

7. Public Reason and Deliberative Democracy

8. Procedural Democracy and Epistemic Justice

9. Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism

10. Law, Morality, and Politics

PREREQUISITES

There are no prerequisites except the willingness to work hard reading some quite challenging philosophical material.