Philosophy 365 S

Political Philosophy

Winter 2006



Bahen Centre B024                                                                                          Professor Gopal Sreenivasan

Mon & Wed 5-6:30                                                                                         215 Huron Street, Room 921

                                                                                                                        (416) 978-2824






The following are available for purchase in the University Bookstore:


            Skinner, Liberty before liberalism (Cambridge, 1998).

            Course Reader.


In addition, four papers are available online as links from the online syllabus.  Note that these readings are not included in the course reader.





There will be three essays (2000 words) required in this course.  There will be no examinations.  The essays will each be worth 33 percent of the final grade.





The Monday meeting of this class will be a lecture.  The Wednesday meeting will be an optional tutorial with the instructor, which will be open to half the class every other week.  Three Wednesday meetings over the course of the term are cancelled.


(From my point of view:  there will be tutorial every week with [at most] half of you.  From your point of view:  you have the option of five tutorials, roughly one every other week).


Reading Schedule



January 9          Introduction.  [No Wednesday]




Jan 16              Berlin, “Two concepts of liberty,” Four essays on liberty (Oxford, 1969).

Jan 23              MacCallum, “Negative and positive freedom,” Philosophical Review 76 (1967): 312-34.

Jan 30              Skinner, Liberty before liberalism (Cambridge, 1998).

February 6       Pettit, Republicanism (Clarendon, 1997), chh. 1 and 2.  [No Wednesday]




Feb 13             Williams, “The idea of equality,” Problems of the Self (Cambridge, 1973), ch. 14. 

                        First essay due.

Feb 20             Reading week.

Feb 27             Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 2nd ed. (Harvard, 1999), §§11-14 and 17. 

March 6           Sen, “Equality of what?,” in S. Darwall (ed.) Equal Freedom (Michigan, 1998): 307-30.

March 13         Parfit, Equality or Priority? in J. Harris (ed.) Bioethics (Oxford, 2001): 347-386.




March 20         Dworkin, Freedom’s Law (Harvard, 1996), Introduction.

March 27         Waldron, “A rights-based critique of constitutional rights,” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 13

                                    (1993):  18-51;

                        Waldron, Law and Disagreement (Clarendon, 1999), chh. 12-13.

                        Second essay due. [revised]

April 3              Spector, “Judicial Review, Rights, and Democracy,” Law and Philosophy 22 (2003):  285-334. 

                        [No Wednesday]

April 10            Sreenivasan, “Does today’s international trade agreement bind tomorrow’s citizen?, 

                                    Chicago-Kent Law Review 81 (2006):  119-45.


End of lectures.


                        Third essay due April 28.

Office hours


Tuesdays 1-3.  I will also hold office hours by appointment.



Late penalties


Essays submitted after the due date will be penalised one increment of a grade (e.g., from B to B-).  Essays submitted a week or more late will be penalised a further increment for each week late.





Plagiarism is a serious academic offence.  It comes in various forms, all of which carry grave penalties.  If in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, ask.  You should consult the Philosophy Department’s statement on plagiarism.


Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. The terms that apply to the University's use of the service are described on the web site.



Writing help


Help in writing is available from the Philosophy Department’s essay clinic.  You are also encouraged to consult the Department’s guide to writing a philosophy essay.





6 March 2006