1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
Enrolment not permitted
PHIL2330 has been successfully completed
Assignment(s), Test(s)
Topic description

This topic examines some central concepts in political philosophy, such as freedom, law, and power. Consideration is given to problems that arise at the intersections of these concepts. Questions to be pursued include: Does the law restrict or enhance our freedom? What is the relationship between morality and power? Are voluntary contractual relationships inherently just? Is equality necessary for justice? Also, a critical assessment is given of some legal and political institutions, including property, employment and the family.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of the philosophical concepts of freedom, law, and power and an evaluation of the way some important social institutions, including the legal system, embody related values of justice and equality
  • Encourage students to comprehend and identify key points in contemporary discussions of issues concerned with law reform and issues of fairness in important social institutions such as property, employment and the family
  • Encourage students to formulate a philosophical problem and develop a fairly sustained argument for an important position in some key debates concerned with justice, liberty or equality, including debates as to whether important social institutions adequately embody these values, while making extensive reference to significant contributions in modern moral and political philosophy
  • Equip students to acquire a reasonably deep comprehension of significant positions and arguments about justice and freedom and whether important social institutions adequately embody these values and both evaluate and engage in sound argument for or against some of those positions
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Explain key concepts in contemporary political philosophy, especially freedom, law, and power, along with related notions
  2. Analyse an array of arguments in contemporary political philosophy in light of the historical and political contexts in which they are embedded
  3. Evaluate historical and existing institutions in terms of the degree to which they enhance or restrict freedom
  4. Justify a set of claims as to how freedom, law, and power relate to one another in history and in the present