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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHIL2321 Political Philosophy

20 creditsClass Size: 130

Module manager: Dr Richard Rowland

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Either PHIL 1080; or PHIL 1111 and 1222; or PRHS 1000; or 20 credits of Level 1 Politics.

This module is mutually exclusive with

PHIL2300Political Philosophy

Module replaces

PHIL2300

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What is authority? And does the state have it over us? Do we have an obligation to obey the law? Which states, if any, are legitimate and what does it take for a state to have legitimate authority over its population? This module introduces the key concepts of political legitimacy and authority. It deals with contemporary theories of the justification of the state, or lack thereof, including the work of liberals such as John Rawls and Joseph Raz, libertarians such as Robert Nozick, and anarchists such as R.P. Wolff. It will also deal with the question of whether we have obligations to disobey the state and its purported authority. We will look at contemporary work on civil and uncivil disobedience. We will discuss when such disobedience is justified and whether it is obligatory. We will discuss when, if ever, it’s right to stand up to the state and break its laws and if we may ever do so violently.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. show some understanding of the views and arguments of contemporary political philosophers, and reveal a grasp of how their positions relate to one another;
2. demonstrate a broad understanding of particular concepts in political philosophy including authority, legitimacy, and political obligation
3. articulate their own responses to the issues raised;
4. manifest skills of philosophical argument and analysis.



Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. show some understanding of the views and arguments of contemporary political philosophers, and reveal a grasp of how their positions relate to one another;
2. demonstrate a broad understanding of particular concepts in political philosophy including authority, legitimacy, and political obligation
3. articulate their own responses to the issues raised;
4. manifest skills of philosophical argument and analysis.


Syllabus

This module will provide students with a solid grasp of the central views in contemporary political philosophy. It will focus on the key issues of political authority, state legitimacy, and political obligation. It will also introduce students to political justification and civil disobedience. Students will gain an in depth knowledge of a key area of contemporary political philosophy through both introductory texts and cutting edge research dealing with several of the most important concepts in the area.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture161.0016.00
Seminar51.005.00
Private study hours179.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation: 79 hours
Essay preparation: 100 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback on first essay and in Seminar discussion

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Essay2,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019

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