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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jason Mayerfeld
PHIL 207
Seattle Campus

Issues of Global Justice

Introduces issues of global justice. Topics include: global poverty and aid, immigration, transnational governance, gender in global relations, climate change, and cultural relativism. Offered: jointly with POL S 207/VALUES 207.

Class description

In the 21st century, issues of justice will often transcend national borders. This course will introduce you to these pressing issues – and to a variety of disciplinary approaches that are useful in understanding them. After a brief introduction to moral reasoning and reasoning about justice, this course will address a number of issues of global justice, including: GLOBAL POVERTY AND AID: Do the wealthy nations have an obligation to help the world’s poor? If so, what should they do? Should there be special attention to the status of women in developing countries?

IMMIGRATION: Should everyone in the world have a right to move to any place they would like to live? What kinds of limits on immigration, if any, can be justified?

TRANSNATIONAL GOVERNANCE: Should there be a single world democracy? If not, should there be other transnational institutions—for example, an international criminal court to enforce human rights?

CLIMATE CHANGE: What obligations, if any, do the nations of the developed world have to prevent or alleviate climate change? What obligations, if any, do the nations of the less developed world have?

CULTURAL RELATIVISM: Are the ideas of justice, human rights, and democracy discussed in this course merely Western ideas, or are they of global applicability?

Student learning goals

You will learn about central issues of global justice, including world poverty, immigration, global climate change, transnational institutions, world government, human rights, and cultural relativism.

You will study the normative debates on these issues, and begin formulating your own contribution to these debates.

You will be introduced to several academic disciplines and inter-disciplines that are dedicated to understanding issues of global justice.

Through a series of writing assignments, you will develop analytical, interpretive, reasoning, and expository skills.

In lecture and quiz section, you will develop skills in reasoned, respectful, and constructive debate.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion, writing.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Students will write a 3-page expository paper, a 5-page argumentative paper, and a final exam.

Participation in Section 10% 3-page expository paper 20 % 5-page argumentative paper 30 % Final examination 40 %


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 Jason Mayerfeld
Date: 10/18/2012