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Advanced 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? What are the basic building bocks of normative analysis? This course aims to help with answering these questions. We start by situating analytical political philosophy in relation to neighbouring traditions: intellectual history, political theory and critical theory. In week two we will talk about philosophical arguments and puzzles. During weeks three to seven we shall read the first five chapters of Shelly Kagan’s Normative Ethics. This is the heavy-lifting part of the course! Weeks seven and eight discuss conceptual analysis and the recent trend of philosophical ameliorative projects; we’ll talk about moralised concepts and merely verbal disputes. Weeks eights to ten are dedicated to discussion the place of intuitions, thought experiments and reflective equilibrium in philosophical argumentation. Week eleven is dedicated to the ideal-non-ideal theory debate. During our last meeting we’ll discuss together your arguments, on the basis of which you will write the final paper.

The course is designed for students pursuing a doctorate in the Political Theory track; other students are welcome only if they meet both of the following conditions: (a) they have a very solid basis in practical philosophy, i.e. ethics and political philosophy and (b) are writing a thesis in normative practical philosophy. You meet the first requirement if 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.)

Priority will be given to students in the PT track. If you're interested in this course, register for it on the waiting list and contact the professor to explain how you meet the background conditions.

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Course syllabus (39.29 KB)
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