Topics in Legal Theory

The focus of this seminar is different approaches to selected issues in the theory of justice, focusing on the work of John Rawls, Iris Marion Young, and Robert Nozick.  We will consider selections from Rawls’s celebrated book, A Theory of Justice as well as his later work, Political Liberalism.  Iris Young’s book, Responsibility for Justice, intersects with Rawls’s work in important ways, proposing, inter alia, a different view of institutional injustice and who should take responsibility for it.  Finally, we will consider selections from Nozick’s libertarian theory, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, which continues to generate interest on its own merits as well as a significant challenge to Rawls’s liberal theory.  The readings may be supplemented from time to time with articles and handouts.  The course requires a 15 page paper on a topic that intersects with the readings, and periodic very short papers.  The course may be used to satisfy the writing requirement.  Since there is no final exam, grades are based on the paper, a short oral presentation on the paper at one of the last meetings, and meaningful class participation demonstrating awareness and understanding of the readings.
Credits: 2

Type: SEM