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ETHICSOC 130: Liberalism and its Critics (PHIL 171P, POLISCI 130)

In this course, students will learn and engage with the core debates that have animated political theory in modern times. What is the proper relationship between the individual, the community, and the state? Are liberty and equality in conflict, and, if so, which should take priority? What does justice mean in a large and diverse modern society? The title of the course, borrowed from a book by Michael Sandel, is 'Liberalism and its Critics' because the questions we discuss in this class center on the meaning of, and alternatives to, the liberal ideas that the basic goal of society should be the protection of individual rights and that some form of an egalitarian democracy is the best way to achieve this goal. The course is structured around two historical phenomena: one the one hand, liberal answers to these key questions have at times seemed politically and socially triumphant, but on the other hand, this ascendency has always been challenged and contested. At least one prior class in political theory, such as Justice (PS 103), Citizenship in the 21st Century (College 102), or Democratic Theory (PS 234) is recommended but not required.
| Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER

ETHICSOC 234: Democratic Theory (PHIL 176P, POLISCI 234)

Most people agree that democracy is a good thing, but do we agree on what democracy is? This course will examine the concept of democracy in political philosophy. We will address the following questions: What reason(s), if any, do we have for valuing democracy? What does it mean to treat people as political equals? When does a group of individuals constitute "a people," and how can a people make genuinely collective decisions? Can democracy really be compatible with social inequality? With an entrenched constitution? With representation?
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER
Instructors: ; Coyne, B. (PI)
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