Methods in Political Philosophy

Course Description: 

What it is that we are doing when we do political philosophy, and how should we go about doing it? This course aims to help with answering these questions. The course is designed for students pursuing a doctorate in the PT track; other students are welcome if they have a very solid basis in practical philosophy, i.e. ethics and political philosophy. This means you had several courses in these fields and have written at least one significant piece of practical philosophy in the analytical tradition (i.e. a BA or MA dissertation, or a graduate level term paper.) We start by situating analytical political philosophy in relation to neighbouring traditions: intellectual history, political theory and critical theory. Weeks two to six cover: basic concepts in normative analysis; forms of argument; and the role of thought experiments, reflective equilibrium and intuitions as philosophical methodsWeeks seven and eight discuss foundationalism and the recent trend of philosophical ameliorative projects. The last four weeks are dedicated to the ideal-non-ideal theory debate. During our last meeting we recapitulate, partly by means of addressing the issue of peer disagreement.