Each fall, I teach the Justice Seminar, the core course in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics minor. Other courses that I teach regularly are also described below. I am also happily available for the direction of undergraduate and graduate thesis work.
PHILOSOPHY 13195: Honors Introduction to Philosophy
Questions about the nature and demands of justice, the grounds of our obligation to obey the law, and what liberties citizens have against the state are among the oldest questions in philosophy. At a time of deep political divisions, they are also questions of great contemporary importance. This course is intended to introduce students to philosophy through the study of what some of history's greatest philosophers have said about these questions. It is also intended to help you articulate philosophical concerns of your own and, most importantly, to learn how to address them.
PHILOSOPHY 20425: Contemporary Political Philosophy
Recent decades have been an extraordinarily exciting time in the development of political philosophy. Many of the central questions in the subject have received their most authoritative formulation and treatment since the 19th century. A good deal of attention early on will be devoted to the ground-breaking writings of John Rawls and to a libertarian critique. Because we live in such interesting times, we also try to understand some of the political ideas moving our world. We therefore look at socialism in its Anglophone and Chinese versions, and at some writing of Pope Francis, asking whether it is as radical as it seems. We look at a critique of the power employers exercise over their employees, and at some philosophy of race. We conclude with the emergence of populism. The course is run as a seminar.
This course traces the history of American Political Thought from the Declaration of Independence (and its antecedents) to the present. Topics treated include: the philosophical origins of the Declaration of Independence, the meaning of the Declaration in the debate over independence, the Constitution and its legacy, the political meaning of the civil war. the legacy of slavery and segregation, the nature of political obligation in twentieth century U.S. history including during wartime and the contemporary crisis. The course can be counted toward various University, College and departmental requirements, including requirements in Philosophy or History.
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This course undertakes a critical examination of major theories of justice, focusing on both contemporary sources (including John Rawls's A Theory of Justice, Kenneth Arrow's seminal papers on social choice theory and recent papers in behavioral economics) and classic works of political theory and practice (including Aristotle's Politics and the Lincoln-Douglas debates). The seminar requires substantial student participation in the forms of seminar presentations and discussion. This class is the core course for the College’s interdisciplinary PPE minor.
The Justice Seminar is cross-listed as POLITICAL SCIENCE: 43640 and ECONOMICS: 33250