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Public Policy H&S - Humanities & Sciences

Course Description

Justice, as we use the term in this class, is a question about social cooperation. People can produce much more cooperatively than the sum of what they could produce as individuals, and these gains from cooperation are what makes civilization possible. But on what terms should we cooperate? How should we divide, as the philosopher John Rawls puts it, "the benefits and burdens of social cooperation"? Working primarily within the Anglo-American philosophical tradition, we'll discuss different answers to this big question as a way to bring together some of the most prominent debates in modern political philosophy. We'll study theories including utilitarianism, libertarianism, classical liberalism, and egalitarian liberalism, and we'll take on complex current issues like reparations for racial injustice, the gender pay gap, and responses to climate change. This class is meant to be an accessible entry point to political philosophy. No experience with political science or philosophy is required or assumed, and we will spend time on the strategy of philosophy as well: understanding how our authors make their arguments to better respond to them and make our own.

Cross Listed Courses

Grading Basis

ROP - Letter or Credit/No Credit





Course Repeatable for Degree Credit?


Course Component


Enrollment Optional?


Course Component


Enrollment Optional?


This course has been approved for the following WAYS

Ethical Reasoning (ER)

Does this course satisfy the University Language Requirement?