Political Philosophy Dissertation Ideas In Psychology

PHIL 327: Topics in Political Philosophy

PHIL 327: Topics in Political Philosophy

The Generic Catalog Description

This course will concentrate on a specific issue in political philosophy. Typical topics include civil disobedience, war and peace, theories of political revolution, theories of utopia, and punishment and criminal justice.


PHIL 327: Topics in Political Philosophy: Liberalism and Feminism (class is linked with Dr. Ingram's PHIL 480)

Jennifer Parks

This course will examine the liberal and feminist traditions in contemporary social and political philosophy.  We will begin by considering the foundational liberal social contract theory of John Rawls.  We will then address the ways that feminists have incorporated and rejected liberal thought within their theories of justice and care.  The course will also address radical feminist approaches that question the dominant liberal rights-based framework.  We will consider issues such as distributive justice and the family, the gendered basis for care and caregiving, multiculturalism and feminism, and liberal versus radical feminist positions on pornography.  Readings for the course will draw from the Anglo-American tradition in philosophy, possibly including works by authors such as John Rawls, Susan Moller Okin, Martha Nussbaum, Eva Kittay, Catharine MacKinnon, and Shulamith Firestone.


PHIL 327: Topics in Political Philosophy: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

David Schweickart

How should we, as social beings, live together?  This is the fundamental question of political philosophy.  This course will address this question directly.  Following the example of Plato, we will think about an Ideal Society.  Specifically, we will ask, given the knowledge and resources that we possess, what is the best form of society that we, in the United States today, might construct? 

Virtually everyone would agree as to the basic political structure of our ideal society.  It should be a democracy.  Democracy has proven itself to be a durable and contagious ideal.  The history of the past several centuries has witnessed a steady deepening of democracy to include all citizens of a society and a steady spread of democracy--at least as an ideal--throughout the world.

There may be agreement about political structure, at least in broad outline, but there is no agreement about that other fundamental feature of a society--its economic structure.  It is this disagreement that will be the focus of this course.  Should our economic structure remain capitalist?  If so, to what sort of capitalism should we aspire, a conservative free-market economy that gives keeps governmental intervention to a minimum, or a more liberal version that would, among other things, allow the government to regulate the economy more and significantly redistribute income and wealth.  Or should we aim for something more drastic.  Should we aim for a "green" economy that incorporates both capitalist and socialist structures.  Or should we try to move beyond capitalism altogether?  Does there exist an economically viable socialist alternative to capitalism, or has the socialist project been wholly discredited?  If an economically viable alternative to capitalism does exist, is it worth fighting for?

To clarify the issues, we will read three books and a set of articles, each representing a contending view: conservative, liberal, green and socialist.  The conservative position is represented by the most influential economist of the post-World-War-Two period, Milton Friedman. We will read his classic statement, which is still, as you will see, highly relevant. The liberal position is represented by several figures, the philosopher John Rawls, the British philosopher/political scientist, Brian Barry and the economist James Galbraith.  The green position will be represented by another classic text, E. F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful.  The socialist position will be set out in David Schweickart’s After Capitalism. 

These readings will comprise the first two-thirds of the course.  During the last third the class will divide into four groups, each of which will draw up a blueprint for its own Ideal Society, based (at least loosely) on one of the above perspectives.  The course will culminate in a Great Debate, in which each group attempts to defend its vision against the alternatives.


PHIL 327: Topics in Political Philosophy: Globalization Ethics

Thomas Wren

In this course we will explore economic and cultural issues of globalization, with particular attention to their normative dimensions of economic and cultural issues such as nationalism, colonialism, immigration,  cultural identity, group rights, and related topics such as global ecology.

We will draw on a variety of sources, including videos as well as books and articles. We will begin the course with excerpts from classic works such as Aristotle'sPolitics, Rousseau'sSocial Contract, Immanuel Kant's Perpetual Peace, and perhaps Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's Communist Manifesto.  We will then look at texts from contemporary authors such as John Rawls. Jurgen Habermas, Thomas Pogge, Iris young, and  Seyla Benhabib.  The readings will be supplemented with several videos about some of the disturbing by-products of globalization.

This class will meet with Dr. Ingram's graduate seminar (PHIL 480) for lectures and video presentations, though not for the scheduled discussion sessions. 


Philosophy 327: Critical Theory: Classical and Contemporary Readings

David Ingrim

The course will survey some of the major themes and thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School of critical social theory. Besides examining issues  - most notably the dialectic of enlightenment, the authoritarian personality, and the problem of technology - that preoccupied first-generation critical theorists  Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer, we will also discuss problems of communicative intersubjectivity, moral development, and self-identity that have dominated the thought of second-generation critical theorist Jürgen Habermas. We will then examine a major contemporary work on globalization and global solidarity by one of Habermas’s former students, Hauke Brunkhorst.

Current Dissertation Projects

Rachel Achs
What Warrants Blame?

Diana Acosta Navas
Discursive Inequality and Citizenship

Olivia Bailey
On Empathy

Ewa Bigaj
The Aesthetics of Mathematics

James Bondarchuk
Kant’s Fact of Reason as Pure Practical Apperception

Javier Caride
Naturalism and Normativity

Ryan Davis
Why Does Liberty Matter?  Outline of a Theory about Liberty's Priority

Sandy Diehl
Living in the Eyes of Others

Noel Dominguez
Moral Responsibility without the Responsibility

Doug Kremm
Practical Cognitivism: An Essay on Normativity and Objectivity

Paul Marcucilli
In Search of Epistemic Normativity

Patricia Marechal
Aristotelian Powers

Jen Nguyen
Locating Leibniz's Monads: the Point of View Proposal

Thomas Pendlebury
The Grounds of Sense

Michael Rabenberg
Death: Three Philosophical Essays

Ronni Sadovsky
Emancipatory Social Norms

Wendy Salkin
Informal Political Representatives and the Possibility of Democratic Legitimacy

Will Tadros
Coercive Proposals and Coercion's Effects

Kate Vredenburgh
Varieties of Explanation

Recent Dissertations

Byron Davies
Dependence on Persons and Dependence on Things in Rousseau’s Social, Psychological, and Aesthetic Theory (anticipated May 2018)

Lauren Davidson
Into Question: An Account of Inquiry (March 2018)

Aleksy Tarasenko-Struc
The Authority of Morality and the Recognition of Persons (November 2017)

Zeynep Soysal
Formal Analyticity  (May 2017)

Shantia Rahimian
Phenomenal Concepts, Transparency, And The Hard Problems of Consciousness (May 2017)

Lauren Kopajtic
Sovereign Sentiments: Conceptions of Self-Control in David Hume, Adam Smith, and Jane Austen (May 2017)

Paul Julian
Objectivity and Intersubjectivity in Moral Philosophy  (May 2017)

Micha Glaeser
Counsel and Command: An Address-Dependent Account of Authority (November 2016)

Jeremy Fix
Acting from Thought about Action (November 2016)

Emily McWilliams
Belief and Ameliorative Epistemology (November 2016)

Celine Leboeuf
The Social Constitution of the Body: Bodily Alienation and Bodily Integrity (May 2016)

Alex Prescott-Couch
Rational Reconstruction and the Construction of an Interlocutor (November 2015)

Enoch Lambert
Species, Humans, and Transformations (November 2015)

Nataliya Palatnik 
Kant’s Science of the Moral World and Moral Objectivity (November 2015)

Oded Na'aman
Loving, Valuing, Regretting, and Being Oneself (November 2015)

Marc Gasser 
On Perception’s Role in Aristotle’s Epistemology (May 2015)

Johann Frick 
‘Making People Happy, Not Making Happy People’: A Defense of the Asymmetry Intuition in Population Ethics (November 2014)

David Langlois 
The Normativity of Structural Rationality (November 2014)

Austin Booth
Essays on Biological Individuality (November 2014)

Colin Chamberlain 
The Self-Body Problem in Descartes and Malebranche (November 2014)

Elizabeth Miller 
No Metaphysics within Physics? (May 2014)

Michael Kenneally 
Intellectual Property Rights and Institutions: A Pluralist Account (May 2014)

Nico Cornell 
Wrongs Without Rights (November 2013)

Craig Nishomoto 
Duties of Rescue: a Moderate Account (November 2013)

Patricio Fernandez 
The Power of a Practical Conclusion (November 2013)

Sharon Berry 
Three Papers on and around the Access Problem (November 2013)

Allison Kuklok 
Conceptualism and Objectivity in Locke’s Account of Natural Kinds (November 2013)

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