20 Credits AUTUMN

Aims/Description: We are citizens in a democratic capitalist society, we vote and choose our representatives and our government, our representatives make laws that we must then follow. We do not only obey the laws only for fear of being punished; we believe that our system of government is just, and that it is just for us to obey the laws. We believe that - by and large - we live in a just society. Do we? What justifies our system of government? Are there alternative possible relations, alternative forms of citizenship; alternative forms of government, alternative ways of organising a society? Is ours the only just one? We will look at the history of political philosophy and explore various systems of citizenship, government and economic arrangements. Our main aim will be to understand how these different systems justify or legitimise the existence of government and its authority to make and enforce laws. We will also look at the more general notion of 'justice' that accompanies and grounds these systems of government. Two side concerns will be:- 1. The relation between a philosopher's view of ethics and her political philosophy. 2. The relation between a philosopher's view of human nature and her political philosophy.

Teaching Methods: Lectures, Seminars, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Course work, Presentation

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Philosophy):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK