About this course: What is the purpose of government? Why should we have a State? What kind of State should we have?

Even within a political community, there may be sharp disagreements about the role and purpose of government. Some want an active, involved government, seeing legal and political institutions as the means to solve our most pressing problems, and to help bring about peace, equality, justice, happiness, and to protect individual liberty. Others want a more minimal government, motivated, perhaps, by some of the disastrous political experiments of the 20th Century, and the thought that political power is often just a step away from tyranny. In many cases, these disagreements arise out of deep philosophical disagreements.

All political and legal institutions are built on foundational ideas. In this course, we will explore those ideas, taking the political institutions and political systems around us not as fixed and unquestionable, but as things to evaluate and, if necessary, to change. We will consider the ideas and arguments of some of the world’s most celebrated philosophers, including historical thinkers such as Plato, Hugo Grotius, David Hume, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, and more contemporary theorists such as Michelle Alexander, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Bryan Caplan, Angela Davis, Ronald Dworkin, Jon Elster, John Hart Ely, H.L.A. Hart, Michael Huemer, Andrew Rehfeld, and Jeremy Waldron.

The aim of the course is not to convince you of the correctness of any particular view or political position, but to provide you with a deeper and more philosophically-informed basis for your own views, and, perhaps, to help you better understand the views of those with whom you disagree.

Syllabus
WEEK 1
Introduction to Part II of the Course
An introduction to the course and to some of the fundamental problems in legal and political philosophy.
1 video, 4 readings

Video: Introduction to Part II
Reading: Syllabus
Reading: Networks
Reading: Grading
Reading: Argumentative Reflections

WEEK 2
Political Community and Borders
This unit explores the issues of how our political communities are and should be defined. What is the basis of political community? Should we be allowed to change what political community we are a part of? If so, how easily?
6 videos, 5 readings

Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 6.0: Political Community: An Introduction
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 6.1: Voluntarism & Political Community
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 6.2: Alternatives to Voluntarism: Rehfeld’s Random Constituencies
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 6.3: Political Community, Cosmopolitanism & World Government
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 6.4.0: Immigration & Exclusion
Video: Lecture 6.4.1: Immigration, Exclusion & Open Borders

Graded: Political Community and Borders
Graded: First Argumentative Reflection Assignment
WEEK 3
Representatives, Elections, and Lotteries
This unit examines how our political community, once defined, should make law and policy. Who should get to have a say?
8 videos, 5 readings

Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 7.0: Representatives, Elections & Lotteries: An Introduction
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 7.1: The Case for Representatives
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 7.2: The Case for Elected Representatives
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 7.3.0: The Perils of Elected Representation: Part I
Video: Lecture 7.3.1: The Perils of Elected Representation: Part II
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 7.4.0: The Lottocracy
Video: Lecture 7.4.1: The Promise of Lottocracy
Video: Lecture 7.4.2: Concerns About Lottocracy

Graded: Representatives, Elections, and Lotteries
Graded: Second Argumentative Reflection Assignment
WEEK 4
Constitutions
This unit examines the role and importance of constitutions. Should we have a constitution? Why might we want one? What should be in it?
8 videos, 5 readings

Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 8.0: Constitutions: An Introduction
Video: Lecture 8.1: Constitutions as Limits
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 8.2: The Mechanisms of Constitutional Limitations
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 8.3.0: Pre-Commitment & Constitutional Authority
Video: Lecture 8.3.1: Pre-Commitment Revisited
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 8.4: Constitutions & Process Theory
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 8.5.0: Constitutions, Judicial Review, & Constitutional Interpretation
Video: Lecture 8.5.1: Constitutional Interpretation

Graded: Constitutions
WEEK 5
Prisons and Punishment & Conclusions
This unit considers the role of crime and punishment within a political community. What should be illegal? What should happen if people break the law?
8 videos, 5 readings

Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 9.0: Crime & Punishment: An Introduction
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 9.1.0: What is Crime? What Should be Criminalized?
Video: Lecture 9.1.1: What Can be Criminalized? The Hart-Devlin Debate
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 9.2: Theories of Punishment
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 9.3.0: Theories of Punishment: Retributivism
Video: Lecture 9.3.1: Retributivism Reconsidered
Reading: Relevant Readings
Video: Lecture 9.4: Alternatives to Incarcerations: Restorative Justice
Video: Reflections on Revolutionary Ideas: A Question & Answer Session with Prof. Guerrero

Graded: Prisons and Punishment & Conclusions
Graded: Third Argumentative Reflection Assignment
Graded: The Blueprints Project

https://www.coursera.org/learn/political-philosophy-2

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