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POLISCI 137A: Political Philosophy: The Social Contract Tradition (ETHICSOC 176, PHIL 176, PHIL 276, POLISCI 337A)

(Graduate students register for 276.) Why and under what conditions do human beings need political institutions? What makes them legitimate or illegitimate? What is the nature, source, and extent of the obligation to obey the legitimate ones, and how should people alter or overthrow the others? Study of the answers given to such questions by major political theorists of the early modern period: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant.
Last offered: Winter 2019 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

POLISCI 138E: Egalitarianism: A course on the history and theory of egalitarianism and anti-egalitarianism (ETHICSOC 174E, PHIL 174E, PHIL 274E)

Egalitarianism is a conception of justice that takes the value of equality to be of primary political and moral importance. There are many different ways to be an egalitarian - it all depends on what we take to be the currency of egalitarian justice. Are we trying to equalize basic rights and liberties, or resources, opportunities, positions, status, respect, welfare, or capabilities? Is equality really what we should try to achieve in a just society? Or should we just make sure everyone has enough? Why do egalitarians think that such society would still be unjust; and how do they proceed to argue for equality?nnThis class will introduce students to egalitarian and anti-egalitarian thought by looking both at the history of egalitarian thinking and at contemporary accounts in defense of equality. It will provide an in depth introduction to the concepts that are used when inequalities are discussed by philosophers, economists, scientists and politicians. The class will attest of the vari more »
Egalitarianism is a conception of justice that takes the value of equality to be of primary political and moral importance. There are many different ways to be an egalitarian - it all depends on what we take to be the currency of egalitarian justice. Are we trying to equalize basic rights and liberties, or resources, opportunities, positions, status, respect, welfare, or capabilities? Is equality really what we should try to achieve in a just society? Or should we just make sure everyone has enough? Why do egalitarians think that such society would still be unjust; and how do they proceed to argue for equality?nnThis class will introduce students to egalitarian and anti-egalitarian thought by looking both at the history of egalitarian thinking and at contemporary accounts in defense of equality. It will provide an in depth introduction to the concepts that are used when inequalities are discussed by philosophers, economists, scientists and politicians. The class will attest of the varieties of approaches and perspectives to equality. For instance, we will learn from the 19th century debate on racial inequalities to understand how anti-egalitarian discourses are constructed; we will look into Rousseau's conception of social equality in the Second Discourse and the Social Contract; and we will engage with contemporary egalitarian theories by studying Rawlsian and post-Rawlsian forms of egalitarianism.
| UG Reqs: WAY-ER

POLISCI 182: Ethics, Public Policy, and Technological Change (COMM 180, CS 182, ETHICSOC 182, PHIL 82, PUBLPOL 182)

Examination of recent developments in computing technology and platforms through the lenses of philosophy, public policy, social science, and engineering. Course is organized around four main units: algorithmic decision-making and bias; data privacy and civil liberties; artificial intelligence and autonomous systems; and the power of private computing platforms. Each unit considers the promise, perils, rights, and responsibilities at play in technological developments. Prerequisite: CS106A.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER

POLISCI 230A: Classical Seminar: Origins of Political Thought (CLASSICS 181, CLASSICS 381, ETHICSOC 130A, PHIL 176A, PHIL 276A, POLISCI 330A)

Political philosophy in classical antiquity, centered on reading canonical works of Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle against other texts and against the political and historical background. Topics include: interdependence, legitimacy, justice; political obligation, citizenship, and leadership; origins and development of democracy; law, civic strife, and constitutional change.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

POLISCI 231: High-Stakes Politics: Case Studies in Political Philosophy, Institutions, and Interests (CLASSICS 382, POLISCI 331)

Normative political theory combined with positive political theory to better explain how major texts may have responded to and influenced changes in formal and informal institutions. Emphasis is on historical periods in which catastrophic institutional failure was a recent memory or a realistic possibility. Case studies include Greek city-states in the classical period and the northern Atlantic community of the 17th and 18th centuries including upheavals in England and the American Revolutionary era.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER, WAY-SI
Instructors: Weingast, B. (PI)

POLISCI 232T: The Dialogue of Democracy (AMSTUD 137, COMM 137W, COMM 237, POLISCI 332T)

All forms of democracy require some kind of communication so people can be aware of issues and make decisions. This course looks at competing visions of what democracy should be and different notions of the role of dialogue in a democracy. Is it just campaigning or does it include deliberation? Small scale discussions or sound bites on television? Or social media? What is the role of technology in changing our democratic practices, to mobilize, to persuade, to solve public problems? This course will include readings from political theory about democratic ideals - from the American founders to J.S. Mill and the Progressives to Joseph Schumpeter and modern writers skeptical of the public will. It will also include contemporary examinations of the media and the internet to see how those practices are changing and how the ideals can or cannot be realized.
Last offered: Spring 2019 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER, WAY-SI

POLISCI 233: Justice and Cities (URBANST 134)

Cities have most often been where struggles for social justice happen, where injustice is most glaring and where new visions of just communities are developed and tested. This class brings political theories of justice and democracy together with historical and contemporary empirical work on city design, planning, and policies to ask the following questions: What makes a city just or unjust? How have people tried to make cities more just? What has made these efforts succeed or fail? Each session will include a case study of a particular city, largely with a focus on the United States. Students will develop research projects examining a city of their choice through the lens of a particular aspect of justice and injustice.
Last offered: Autumn 2017 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER

POLISCI 233F: Science, technology and society and the humanities in the face of the looming disaster (FRENCH 228, ITALIAN 228)

How STS and the Humanities can together help think out the looming catastrophes that put the future of humankind in jeopardy.
Last offered: Winter 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER

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

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)

POLISCI 234P: Deliberative Democracy and its Critics (AMSTUD 135, COMM 135, COMM 235, COMM 335, ETHICSOC 135F, POLISCI 334P)

This course examines the theory and practice of deliberative democracy and engages both in a dialogue with critics. Can a democracy which emphasizes people thinking and talking together on the basis of good information be made practical in the modern age? What kinds of distortions arise when people try to discuss politics or policy together? The course draws on ideas of deliberation from Madison and Mill to Rawls and Habermas as well as criticisms from the jury literature, from the psychology of group processes and from the most recent normative and empirical literature on deliberative forums. Deliberative Polling, its applications, defenders and critics, both normative and empirical, will provide a key case for discussion.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER, WAY-SI
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