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Updated A.Y. 2020-2021

Course Description

The Course is divided in two modules: European Thought (second module) and Global Justice (first module).

The first module tries to answer to the following question: what do we owe to each other? In looking for plausible answers, we will first study the main contemporary theories of justice, namely, utilitarianism, libertarianism, contractualism and communitarianism which find their roots in the political philosophies of Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Bentham and Mill. The current political debate in the Western democracies largely reflects these theories and views although the main actors involved do not always have full awareness of it. An inquire into our duties is interested mainly in identifying and justifying those principles of justice that guide our actions and shape and design our institutions. Since the focus of this course is on global justice our concern is to understand how individuals and states ought to conduct themselves in relation to others on the world stage. In particular we will test the theories of justice in relation to issues such as world poverty, global inequalities, immigration and climate change.

The second module aims at providing students with a common background about the origin and development of the most important features peculiar to European thought, and at giving them the intellectual instruments to understand the issues which make Europe different from, or similar to, other cultures. Comparative issues with Chinese thought will also be touched upon. Students will gain knowledge of the foundations and conceptual base of western political systems (democracy), science, law, philosophy, ethics, and other issues, in their mutual relation.

Find more information in the Syllabus