PHILOS 1B03 Philos,Law&Society
Academic Year: Winter 2017
Instructor: Dr. James Sikkema
Office: University Hall 314A
Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26465
Office Hours: By Appointment
- Course Objectives
- Textbooks, Materials & Fees
- Method of Assessment
- Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties
- Additional Policies and Statements
- Topics and Readings
- Other Course Information
This course introduces students to philosophy by investigating questions regarding the interplay between political organization, morality and legality. By exploring foundational readings in the history of philosophy the course will inquire into the nature and extent of political and legal authority, individual rights and freedoms, collective civic responsibilities, war and peace, and social justice.
By the end of the course students will:
- Have a basic understanding of the philosophical foundations of political organization, legal authority and moral responsibility
- Be able to critically evaluate philosophical ideas and their implications
Become better readers of, and writers on, philosophical texts
Textbooks, Materials & Fees:
Oxford Readers: Political Thought, edited by Michael Rosen and Jonathan Wolff. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. (Available in the Campus Bookstore)
Method of Assessment:
Tutorial Attendance & Participation – 10%
Essay Assignment 1 – 15% - Due @ 11:59 February 6
Mid-Term Exam – 20% - In Class on February 15
Essay Assignment 2 – 25% - Due @ 11:59 March 20
Final Exam – 30% - TBA
Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:
A Note on the Text and Lectures
The text selected for the course consists of primary readings from philosophers who have in some way, shape or form, made significant contributions to political, legal and ethical thought generally, and in democratic societies particularly. While the selections are, for the most part, relatively short, they are quite often complex and, consequently, difficult to understand. They will, therefore, and for the most part, require a slow, contemplative, and critical reading. While the lectures will be dedicated to elucidating the content of these readings, they will not suffice as a replacement for them. Lectures will be delivered in Power Point and will largely consist of textual analysis interspersed with concrete examples and relevant media references wherever applicable. Lectures will be posted to Avenue to Learn after class.
A Note on Tutorial Attendance and Participation
While being physically present in your tutorial section is a necessary condition for your tutorial grade it is not, in itself, sufficient. Given that, 1) the purpose of tutorials is to provide you with a forum for deepening your understanding of the ideas we will be investigating in the lectures, and 2) tutorials largely involve a dialogical format, you are required to come to tutorial prepared to participate. This requires that you have attended the lectures and have done the readings on which they will be based.
A Note on Essay Assignments
Each of the two essay assignments will be posted to Avenue to Learn on the Monday two weeks before their due dates. Given their short length, narrow focus, and defined grading criteria, this should be plenty of time to complete a quality essay. The essays should be uploaded to Avenue to Learn before midnight of the due date.
A Note on Exams
Both exams will consist solely of short answer questions and will be based on the assigned readings for the course and the lectures dedicated to their elucidation. The Mid-Term will consist of 10 short answer questions, of which you must answer 8, and the Final Exam will consist of 25 short answer questions, of which you must answer 20. While the Final Exam will be cumulative, the bulk of the questions will preponderate toward the latter half of the term’s coursework.
Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.
Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
- Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
- Improper collaboration in group work.
- Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Email correspondence policy
It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
Modification of course outlines
The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.
Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities
Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail email@example.com. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.
Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances
Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.
Topics and Readings:
Class and Reading Schedule
January 4 – Introduction
January 9 & 11 – Human Nature
2. Hobbes, The Misery of the Natural Condition of Mankind
3. Locke, The State of Nature and the State of War
5. Rousseau, The Noble Savage
6. Owen, Man’s Character is Formed for Him (read to 2nd ¶ on p.25)
7. Marx & Engels, Man as Productive Being
January 16 & 18 – The Nature of Woman and the Social Contract
14. Wollstonecraft, The Rights of Women
15. Mill, The Subjection of Women
17. Jaggar, Socialist Feminism and the Standpoint of Women
20. Hobbes, Creating Leviathan
18. & 21. Locke, Political Power & Express and Tacit Consent
22. Rousseau, Natural Freedom and the Freedom of the Citizen
January 23 & 25 – Authority, Law and Dis/Obedience
25. Bentham, Utility as the True Foundation
29. Wolff, The Conflict of Autonomy and Authority
30. Plato, The Duty of Obedience
31. Thoreau, The Duty of Disobedience
32. King, An Unjust Law is No Law
33. Rawls, Civil Disobedience
*First Essay Assignment Given Jan. 23*
January 30 & February 1 – The Individual and the State
36. Rousseau, The General Will
37. Kant, Freedom and Equality
38. Mill, The Democratic Citizen
39. Rawls, Majority Rule
40. Lenin, Bourgeois and Proletarian Democracy
41. Pateman, Participatory Democracy
February 6 & 8 – Tyranny and Republicanism and Film
43. Madison, The Danger of Faction
44. de Tocqueville, The Tyranny of the Majority
47. Locke, Legislative, Executive, and Federative Powers
*First Essay Assignment Due @ 11:59, Feb. 6*
February 13 & 15 – Film and *Mid-Term Exam In Class, Feb. 15*
February 20 & 22 – NO CLASS – MID-SEMESTER BREAK
February 27 & March 1 – Positive and Negative Liberty
49. Constant, The Liberty of the Ancients and the Liberty of the Moderns
50. Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty
51. Taylor, In Defence of Positive Freedom
52. Dworkin, No Right to Liberty
March 6 & 8 – Morality and Legality
53. Mill, One Simple Principle
54. Stephen, The Consequences of Liberty
55. Devlin, The Enforcement of Morals
56. Hart, The Changing Sense of Morality
*Second Essay Assignment Given, Mar. 6*
March 13 & 15 – Freedom of Expression and Tolerance
57. Locke, The Futility of Intolerance
58. Scanlon, Free Expression and the Authority of the State
59. Waldron, The Satanic Verses
60. MacKinnon, Only Words
March 20 & 22 – Private Property and Rights of Labor
73. Locke, Labour as the Basis of Property
76. Spencer, The Right to the Use of the Earth
91. Hume, The Impossibility of Equality
92. Marx, From Each According to His Abilities, to Each According to His Needs
*Second Essay Assignment Due @ 11:59, Mar. 20*
March 27 & 29 – Distributive Justice
95. Rawls, Two Principles of Justice
97. Dworkin, Equality of Resources
April 3 & 5 – Peace and War and Review
98. Kant, Perpetual Peace
100. Waltzer, Just and Unjust War
101. Nagel, The Limits of Warfare
Other Course Information:
Modification of course outlines
McMaster University reserves the right to change or revise information contained in course outlines in extreme circumstances. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of students to check regularly their primary email account via their @mcmaster.ca alias and course websites.
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean’s office.