Skip to main content
Contemporary Political Philosophy
Course Description

Political philosophy has been a fruitful and prolific discipline specially since the publication of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, in 1971. This course will analyse the main concepts, debates, and ideas in contemporary political philosophy from classical debates about political authority to still open disagreements about how to achieve a society of equals.


To do so, the course is divided in three main parts: part one will introduce and discuss political authority, legitimacy, and political obligation; part two focus on discussing the concept of justice and egalitarian responses such as equality of opportunity, equality of outcomes, and social or democratic equality; finally, the third part introduces and discusses gender equality and discusses the value of democracy, is democracy justified for its consequences, is it justified for other values? What is the relation, if any, between equality and democracy?


Introductory readings include Adam Swift, Political Philosophy: a beginner's guide for students and politicians (Cambridge: Polity Press 2013); and Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction (OUP, 2001). Both books are available at CEU Library and as ebooks through access to CEU Library.

Learning Outcomes

In this course, the following learning outcomes might be acquired:

- Reason logically: ability to recognize and use logical models such as induction, deduction, etc. Students should be able to identify them in the required readings and to reproduce them in the various exercises for assessment.

- Informed and reasoned judgement: Make well-reasoned judgment, recognize subjectivity, etc. After the identification and reproduction of arguments in the required and recommended readings, students should be able to make their own judgments through learning how to develop their positions.

- Analytical writing: ability to generate logical, plausible, and persuasive arguments, connect, compare, and contrast, etc. Students should develop analytical writing both at the mid term exam and the final paper. To write analytically is difficult and requires time and practice. Clarity and precision are two of the main characteristics of analytical writing.

- Oral communication: ability to communicate clearly and using appropriate media, and participate in tasks involving communicative competence. The student should develop this ability when participating in class discussions, and in-class presentations.

- Ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills: ability to formulate critical arguments and present them in scholarly debates and written products.

  •  Active class-room participation and presentation (25 %)
  •  Short assignment: Mid Term Exam (30 %)
  •  Final paper and outline (45 %)
Course Level
Academic Year
US Credits
ECTS Credits
Course Code