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POLISCI 138E. Egalitarianism: A course on the history and theory of egalitarianism and anti-egalitarianism. 4 Units.

Egalitarianism is a conception of justice that takes the value of equality to be of primary political and moral importance. There are many different ways to be an egalitarian - it all depends on what we take to be the `currency¿ of egalitarian justice. Are we simply trying to equalize basic rights and liberties, or also resources, opportunities, positions, status, respect, welfare, or capabilities? Is equality really what we should try to achieve in a just society? An alternative would be to make sure everyone has enough or to promote individual freedom instead of equality. Why do egalitarians think that such society would still be unjust? How do they proceed to argue for equality?nnThis class will introduce students to egalitarian and anti-egalitarian thought by looking both at the history of egalitarian thinking and at contemporary accounts in defense of equality. It will provide an in depth introduction to the concepts that are used when inequalities are discussed by philosophers, economists, scientists and politicians. The class will attest of the varieties of approaches and perspectives to equality. For instance, we will learn from the 19th century debate on racial inequalities to understand how anti-egalitarian discourses are constructed; we will look into Rousseau¿s conception of social equality in the Second Discourse and the Social Contract; and we will engage with contemporary egalitarian theories by studying Rawlsian and post-Rawlsian forms of egalitarianism.nnThere are no prerequisites for this course. The class will enable you to develop your own interests and expertise as you work towards understanding egalitarian thinking. If you have prior experience in ethics, political philosophy or political theory, it will allow you to deepen your knowledge and to learn new theories of justice. If you do not have any such knowledge, this class will introduce you to the normative approach to politics (that is the approach that consists in asking what a just society requires) and will help you develop some understanding of how one proceeds when arguing for justice.nnA substantial part of the 3 hours we have each week will be devoted to discussions and presentations, since this is the best way to `practice normative thinking¿. The class will also include mini-lectures lead by the primary instructor.
Same as: ETHICSOC 70X, PHIL 174E, PHIL 274E