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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephen M. Gardiner
VALUES 512
Seattle Campus

Justice Matters: An Exploration of Justice as a Social Ideal

Asks what makes social policies and institutions morally acceptable, primarily through a discussion about justice and injustice. Topics include: relativism, the sources of competing conceptions of justice and equality, cost-benefit analysis, distributive justice, and beneficence.

Class description

This course aims to introduce graduate and professional students from a wide range of backgrounds to some central moral questions about social structures and institutions. Discussion will center on questions about justice, broadly construed as the basic virtue of social institutions. In particular, the course will ask what it is to treat people as equals, and consider different answers to this question proposed by (for example) utilitarians, liberals, libertarians, socialists, feminists and communitarians. As with Values 511: Ethics Matters, with which it is paired, it is assumed that the perspectives brought from different fields will prove mutually illuminating. Students will consider conceptual frameworks for thinking about the increasingly familiar difficulties that arise in fashioning fair and decent policies in various areas of our lives. TEXTS: "Contemporary Political Philosophy", Will Kymlicka; "Political Philosophy: A Guide for Students and Politicians", Adam Swift.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 11/18/2013