Announcements In Class

April 7, 2020 at 8:52 am

Fall 2020 | Two Courses on Democracy, Liberty, Equality

The Philosophy Department offers two Fall 2020 courses on democracy, liberty and equality at Ohio University.

PHIL 4400/5400 Democracy: The Grounds and Limits of Democratic Authority

Dr. Alyssa Bernstein

Class # 9930/9931

Tuesday and Thursday, 3:05-4:25 p.m., Ellis Hall 226

This course will address the following questions: Why is it important to make collective decisions democratically? When the democratic decisions conflict with our sense of what is just, what reasons do we have for setting aside our own views and going along with the democratic decisions? What are the limits to this authority that democratic decisions have over us? What are the moral foundations of democracy and liberal rights? These are the questions addressed by what is widely regarded as one of the most important books on democracy of the past decade: The Constitution of Equality, by Thomas Christiano. This seminar will critically examine its arguments and bring them into dialogue with critical and complementary perspectives expressed in more recent articles.

PHIL 2400 Democracy, Liberty, & (In)equality: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy

Class #11550

Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30-11:50 a.m., Morton Hall 122

Description: This course provides an introduction to modern Western social and political philosophy by examining three of the ideas that have been central to the political and cultural life of the U.S.A. since its earliest days:  “democracy,” “liberty,” and “equality” (or “inequality”).  In the 21st century, as well as previously, these ideas have been interpreted in various ways, and there are lively debates about how best to construe them. Students will learn about them by reading, analyzing, and discussing texts by several of the most important political philosophers in the Western tradition, including Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704), Adam Smith (1723-1790), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), and Karl Marx (1818-1883). By studying the assigned texts, students will become better able to discern the different meanings of the ideas of democracy, equality, liberty and freedom that influence political debates today. They will also learn about justice, rights (inalienable and alienable), anarchism, capitalism, socialism, the idea of a social contract, and the basis and limits of legitimate governmental authority.

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