Philosophy 208S-01

    Political Values

      Spring 2010



West Duke 100                                                                                    Prof. Gopal Sreenivasan

Tues 1:15-3:45                                                                                     West Duke 207



Reading Schedule


January 19      Introduction. No reading. Review of Rawls.

J 26                Cohen, Rescuing Justice and Equality (Harvard, 2008), ch. 1.

February 2      Estlund, “Liberalism, Equality, and Fraternity in Cohen’s Critique of Rawls,” Journal of Political Philosophy 6 (1998): 99-112; Cohen, Appendix, §4.

F 9                 Cohen, ch. 3.

F16                Scheffler, “Is the Basic Structure Basic?,” in Sypnowich (ed.) The Egalitarian Conscience (Oxford, 2006).

F 23               Williams, “Incentives, Inequality, and Publicity,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (1998): 225-247.

March 2         Cohen, ch. 8;

                      Williams, “Justice, Incentives, and Constructivism,” Ratio 21 (2008): 476-93.


Spring break


March 16        Joshua Cohen, “Taking People As They Are,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 30 (2001): 363-386.

M 23              Cohen, ch. 2.

M 30              Cohen, ch. 5

April 6            Cohen, ch. 4

A 13               Cohen, ch. 6

A 20               Cohen, ch. 7


Apart from Cohen, readings available through Blackboard.




Students enrolled in this course will have to write a term paper (20 pages). The following dates must be observed:


            March 30:        One page topic proposal, due by e-mail attachment.

            April 16:           Term paper, due by e-mail attachment.


There will be one opportunity to rewrite your term paper for a higher grade, on the basis of the comments supplied.


In addition, there will be a weekly 2 page assignment, due by noon on seminar day in Blackboard’s digital dropbox. Topics for the assignments will be posted weekly. The assignments will simply be graded pass or fail. Each student will have two free passes (for the 12 weeks). Students who accumulate three failed assignments (or who exceed their quota of free passes, i.e. submit fewer than 10 timely assignments) will have their term paper graded out of a maximum of B (instead of A).


Office Hours


 By appointment.

January 19, 2010