Dan Moller, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

This course will confront fundamental questions about what justice is and how to bring it about. Among other things, we will ask ourselves whether justice is defined by those in power, whether foreign policy should be dictated by the national interest, what if anything can justify some being richer than others, whether capitalism is moral, whether we owe reparations for slavery, and what the Constitution says about gay rights.

We will mainly read classic philosophers like Plato, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx, in order to see how their ideas bear on contemporary problems of social justice. However, we will also read non-philosophers like Homer, Virginia Woolf, Ta-Nehesi Coates, and Supreme Court decisions for some additional perspectives. Along the way, we will hone our skills in logical reasoning and friendly debate.

Assignments will include projects asking students to apply classical debates about justice to contemporary issues. We may also try to organize a philosophical symposium (with presentations) in the spirit of the intellectual dinner party Plato describes.