Prof. David Haslett

24 Kent Way, Rm.205

Home Phone: 366-8579  

e-mail:  dhaslett@udel.edu

Fall, 2002

                                                                                                                    

 

 

 

SYLLABUS

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY:  PHIL 201

                                                                             

 

I.  COURSE OBJECTIVES

 

This course has two objectives.  The first is to provide some insight into what moral criteria should govern political decisions and, according to these criteria, what socioeconomic system is most justified for our society. The second main objective is to sharpen your skills at critically examining and debating social and political issues and, in general, at coming to well thought-out solutions of your own.

 

 

II.  COURSE REQUIREMENTS

 

Your work in this course will consist of the following:  1.  reading assignments; 2.  class participation; and 3.  three tests.  These are explained below.

 

 

1.  Reading Assignments

 

Most of the readings are not difficult, if read carefully and with patience.  Class discussion each week will presuppose that all of the readings have been completed by everyone.  To benefit fully from this course, it is essential that you read the assignments and attend class regularly.  WARNING:  Although all of the readings present ideas and proposals that it is instructive for us to debate, many of these ideas and proposals, including those set out by Haslett, may not be justified.  Be careful not to be deceived by false ideas and bad proposals.  Read critically

 

The required texts are the following:

 

a.  Applied Social and Political Philosophy, ed. by Elizabeth Smith and H. Gene Blocker  (referred to here as "S & B")

 

b.  What It Means to Be a Libertarian, by Charles Murray                      

 

c.  Capitalism with Morality, by D. W. Haslett

2.  Class Participation

 

Class participation consists of the following: 

a.  Answering questions I ask in class about the readings and topic for the day.             

 

  b.  Asking questions about, or disagreeing with, views presented during class or in the readings .  NOTE:   Since many of my own views may not be justified, I especially encourage the expression of disagreement with my own views as presented in class and in the readings.   The more differing viewpoints we have debated in class, the more interesting the course will be for everyone, and more we are all likely to learn.

 

3.  Tests.

 

Each test will consist of multiple choice questions that cover all material assigned since the last test.  Test questions will come not just from material presented in the readings, but also from material that I present in class that goes beyond the readings.  Since many test questions will come from material presented only in class, it is important that you take good notes.  The dates for each test are set out below.

 

 

 

III.  ASSIGNMENTS

 

Note:  Our discussion of the topics below will often carry over somewhat into the following class meeting

 

 

PART I:  GOVERNMENT AND ITS PROPER FUNCTIONS

 

Wednesday, Sept. 4:  Introduction

 

 

Friday, Sept. 6:  Democracy 

 

Reading:  Plato, “The Republic  (S & B, pp. 3-34)

 

 

Monday, Sept. 9:  (1)  Aid to the Starving;  (2) Relativism and Ethical Theory

 

Reading:    Singer, “The Famine Relief Argument,” S & B, pp. 456-65

 

 

Wednesday, Sept. 11:  Relativism and Ethical Theory

 

            No new reading assignment.

 

Friday, Sept 13:  Animal Rights  (Principle of Universalizability)

 

Reading:   Regan, “The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism,” S & B, pp. 382-95        

 

 

Monday, Sept 16   Direct (Act) Utilitarian Political Morality

 

Reading   Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and                                            

                                     Legislation,  S & B, pp. 111-13

 

 

Wednesday, Sept. 18:  Indirect (Rule) Utilitarianism

 

            Reading:  Haslett, “Libertarianism,” pp. 47-54 only

 

 

Friday, Sept. 20:  Libertarian Political Morality

 

            Reading:  Murray, pp. 3- 59

 

 

Monday, Sept. 23:  Libertarian Political Morality—The Economy       

 

Reading:  Murray, pp.  60-78

 

 

Wednesday, Sept.  25:   A General Critique of Libertarianism

 

Reading:  1.  Haslett, “Libertarianism,” Secs. 2.6 through 2.8, pp. 73-86

                       

 

Friday, Sept. 27:  Homosexuality and Prostitution

 

Reading:  Devlin, “The Enforcement of Morals,” S & B, pp. 252-61

 

 

Monday, Sept. 30:  Paternalism

 

Reading:  2.  Mill, “On Liberty,”  S & B, pp. 115-119—through first column              

   only

 

 

Wednesday, Oct. 2:  Murray views on “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll”

 

            Reading:  Murray, pp. 102-13

 

 

Friday, Oct. 4:  A Critique of Murray’s Views on Drugs

 

            No new reading assignment.

 

 

Monday, Oct. 7:  FIRST TEST

 

 

 

PART II:  ALTERNATIVE SOCIOECONOMIC SYSTEMS

 

 

Wednesday, Oct. 9::  (1)  Anarchism; (2) The Duty to Obey the Law

 

            Reading:  Kropotkin, “Law & Authority,” S & B, pp. 146-53

 

 

 

Friday, Oct. 11:   Marxism 

 

Reading:  Marx, “Alienated Labor,” S & B, pp. 153-55

 

                            

Monday, Oct. 14:  Marxism

 

Reading:   Marx and Engels,  Manifesto of the Communist Party,”  S &  B, pp.

                 165-69

 

 

Wednesday, Oct. 16:  Central Planning Socialism

 

Reading:   Haslett, “Central-Planning Socialism,” pp. 87-103

 

 

Friday, Oct. 18:  Central Planning Socialism—A Critique

 

            Reading:  Haslett, “Central-Planning Socialism,” pp103-35

 

 

Monday, Oct. 21:  Worker-Control Socialism

 

            Reading:  Haslett, “Worker Control,” pp. 136-50

 

 

Wednesday, Oct. 23:  Worker-Control Capitalism

 

Reading:   Haslett, “Worker Control,” pp. 150-169

 

 

Friday, Oct. 25:  Worker-Control Capitalism vs. Traditional Capitalism

 

            Reading:  Haslett,  Worker Control,” pp. 169-90

 

 

Monday, Oct. 28:  Socioeconomic Systems and Distributive Justice--Rawls

 

Reading:    Rawls, “A Theory of Justice,” S & B, pp. 194-210

 

 

Wednesday, Oct. 30:  A Critique of Rawls

 

 

Friday, Nov. 1:  Distributive Justice and Capitalism--Nozick

 

 Reading:   Nozick, “Anarchy, State and Utopia,” S & B, pp. 210-19

 

 

Monday, Nov. 4:  Distributive Justice as it relates to Equal Opportunity--Dwarkin

 

Reading:  Dworkin, “Why Liberals Should Care About Equality,” S & B, pp.  

                                             470-75

 

Wednesday, Nov. 6:  Distributive Justice

 

            No new reading assignment

 

 

Friday, Nov. 8:             SECOND TEST

 

 

PART III:  SOCIAL AND POLITICAL IDEALS

 

Monday, Nov. 11:  Freedom from Discrimination:  Defining “Discrimination”

 

No new reading assignment

 

Wednesday, Nov. 13:  Freedom from Discrimination:  Civil Rights Legislation

 

Readings:  1.  Murray, pp. 79-89

 

      2.  Bork, “Civil Rights—A Challenge,” S & B, pp. 336-38

 

      3.  New Republic Editors, “Civil Rights--a Reply,” S & B, p. 339

 

 

Friday, Nov. 15:  Freedom from Discrimination:  Affirmative Action 

 

Reading:    Mosely, “In Defense of Affirmative Action,” S & B, pp. 431-38

 

           

Monday, Nov. 18:  Freedom from Discrimination:  Affirmative Action

 

            No new reading assignment

 

 

Wednesday, Nov. 20:  Equal Opportunity

 

Reading:   Haslett,  Capitalism with Equal Opportunity,” pp 235-57 only

 

 

Friday, Nov. 22:  Equal Opportunity

 

            Reading:  Haslett, “Capitalism with Equal Opportunity,” pp. 257-63

 

 

Monday, Nov. 25:  Abolishing Poverty

 

Readings:  1.  Murray, pp. 124-38

 

2.  Haslett,  Capitalism without Poverty,” Sections 5.1 through 5.5,         

     pp. 191-212

 

 

Wednesday, Nov. 27:  Equal Access to Necessities

 

Reading:  Haslett, “Capitalism without Poverty,” Sections 5.6 through 5.8, pp.

                212-28

 

 

Friday, Nov. 29:  Thanksgiving Holiday

 

 

Monday, Dec. 2.  Equal Access to Necessities

 

Reading:  Haslett, “Capitalism without Poverty,  Section 5.9, pp. 228-34

 

 

Wednesday, Dec. 4:  Free Speech;

 

Readings:   1.  Mill, “On Liberty,” S & B, pp. 119-123 to first new paragraph

                       only

 

2.  Humphrey and Bork, “U.S. Senate Hearings on Flag Desecration,”  

    S & B, pp. 281-84

 

 

Friday, Dec. 6:  National Security:  Understanding and Preventing Terrorism

 

            Reading:  Imam Khomeini, “Islam and Revolution,  S & B, pp. 519-26

 

 

Monday, Dec. 9:  A Clean Environment

 

            Reading:  Murray, pp. 114-23

 

 

Wednesday, Dec. 11:  Conclusion

 

            No new reading assignment

 

 

Thursday, Dec. 19, 1:00 to 3:00:  THIRD TEST