Economics, Law, Philosophy, Political science

 In cooperation with the Society for Applied Philosophy

Course date

1 July - 12 July, 2013
30 April, 2013
The application process is closed; no more applications will be reviewed.
Course Director(s): 

Andres Moles

Department of Political Science/Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Zoltan Miklosi

Department of Political Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

Institut for Statskundskab, Aarhus Universitat, Denmark
Course Faculty: 

Peter Vallentyne

Department of Philosophy, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, USA

Helen Frowe

Department of Philosophy, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, UK

Ingmar Persson

Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, UK

Zofia Stemplowska

Worcester College, University of Oxford, UK

Greg Bognar

School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Course Manager: 

Orsolya Reich

Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

The problem of justice occupies a special place in contemporary political philosophy. In the words of its most influential figure, John Rawls, "justice is the first virtue of social institutions". That view seems to be shared by a majority of authors and theories. However, there is no comparable agreement regarding what justice demands, from whom and to whom. Proponents of different theories disagree about the content of the demands of justice: does it demand equality, priority to the worst off, or merely that each person has enough of the relevant goods, according to some notion of sufficiency? They also disagree about the currency of distribution: in what dimension should people be made equal: in their welfare, capabilities, resources, or something else? Likewise, there is disagreement about the scope of the demands of justice: is it people in general who owe and are owed the duties of justice to one another? Or is it only members of the same politically organized society? The scope question has a temporal dimension as well: are our obligations to future generations identical with or different from what we owe to the appropriate subset of the members of the current generation? Another dispute concerns the kind of actors to which justice primarily applies: is it only social institutions that must discharge the demands of justice, or are the private choices of individuals equally under its application?

These questions have utmost relevance for political philosophers. However, their importance spill over to other disciplines. Given that many choices policy makers make are distributive in nature, it is not surprising that issues of justice appear in many other spheres. The course will review some contexts that raise important questions about justice: Most people agree that educational goods are important is shaping one’s life prospects. But there is disagreement about how these ought to be distributed: How should educational opportunities be distributed? What is equal opportunity of education? What other competing values there are? Another important good that has enduring effects in people’s life is health. Is health a special good, or is it one among others? If a person enjoys less health because of her previous actions should health care be sensitive to this fact?
Recently, some theorists have suggested that the theory of distributive justice should be extended to include issues of just war. For instance, if there is an unjust world order that impermissibly benefits wealthier nations at the cost of poorer ones, are the latter permitted by justice to wage war against the former?
 These, among others, are the questions that will be discussed in this course.