The Problems of Ethics (based in Sociology)
This module will be concerned with the ways in which Western philosophy, ever since its beginnings in ancient Greece, has tried to think through the relationship between ethics and society, between ideas of the good and ways of organising collective life. It will introduce students to the ways in which philosophers, ancient and modern, have tried to think of the tension between passions, interests and virtues, as well as how they have framed the conflicts between individuals and collectives. We will also reflect on how attention to race, gender and social transformation impacts on our understanding of classical ethical problems.
Introduction to Political Philosophy (based in Politics)
This module is designed to introduce students to some of the major concepts, principles and theoretical debates in political philosophy by drawing on the thought of influential political philosophers from both the Anglo-American and Continental traditions. The module will introduce students to major theories that seek to provide moral and political justifications of the state in general and answer the question of ‘who should rule’ by drawing on the thought of thinkers such as Bentham, Kant and Rousseau. Students will also be introduced to a number of important political concepts such as liberty, rights and equality by looking at the contribution of thinkers such as Locke, J.S. Mill and Marx. Finally, students will be introduced to the famous debate between Rawls and Nozick that concerns the idea of justice.