Topic: Theories of Justice. The US suffers numerous social injustices. What would need to change in order for it to be more just? Do we need an ideal of justice to help us determine what a fair US would be like? A fundamental concern of political and social philosophy is establishing a conception of a just society or a more just society. In this course, we will critically assess theories of justice, using the most influential contemporary theory, John Rawls’ 'justice as fairness', as our basis. We will analyze and assess Rawls’ book A Theory of Justice, along with criticisms and alternative conceptions of justice. This will include critically assessing ideal theory and liberalism, as well as evaluating alternatives based on communitarianism, critical race theory, feminism, and notions of oppression. Besides Rawls, we will consider the work of the theorists Katrina Forrester, Charles Mills, Amartya Sen, and Iris Marion Young, among others.
TEXT: John Rawls. 1999. A Theory of Justice. Revised edition. Other course materials will be made available on Canvas.