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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?This 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 variet 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?This 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.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER
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