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PHIL 75: Philosophy of Public Policy

This course aims to train students in the normative analysis of public policies. It offers a critical examination of diverse policy proposals from the perspective of moral and political philosophy. From healthcare to parliamentary reforms to educational policies, social and public policies are underpinned by normative justifications ¿ that is by different conceptions of what justice and fairness require. By analyzing these assumptions and justifications, we can in turn discuss and challenge the rightness of policy X or Y. Drawing on theories such as political liberalism, republicanism and feminist theory we will ask question such as: is workfare ever justified? What is wrong with racial profiling? When (if ever) is compulsory voting justified? Should children have the right to vote? Does affirmative action promote equality? Should freedom of expression ever be restricted? What are the duties of citizens of affluent countries toward asylum seekers and economic migrants? Do we have a right to privacy? Etc. We will work on a number of theories, texts and examples to make sense of the process of normative evaluation of public policy. By the end of the seminar, students will be prepared to take more advanced classes in ethics, political theory, as well as moral and political philosophy. They will have developed competences in the normative analysis of public policy and they will be able to deploy those competences to assess a broad range of other policies.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER
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