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PHIX357 – Theories of Justice

2017 – S1 OUA

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor
Jane Johnson
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
What is justice? This unit explores this important question by examining a number of leading contemporary philosophical theories of justice, including John Rawls's influential theory of justice, and assessing the capacity of these theories to respond to pressing social issues. To do this we look at issues of inequality and diversity in society by asking: what degree of inequality, if any, can be justified? We explore the different answers to this question proposed by liberals, libertarians, and Marxists. We shall also examine broader social questions around justice, such as: should we focus more on the well-being of communities and less on the rights of individuals? Is justice biased against women? Should minorities receive special protections and privileges? How can we justify punishing those who violate justice? What are the obligations of democratic citizenship? And what do we owe the poor in other countries? All enrolment queries should be directed to Open Universities Australia (OUA): see www.open.edu.au

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://www.open.edu.au/student-admin-and-support/key-dates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. A good general knowledge of some of the major theories and current debates in contemporary political philosophy
  2. An ability to understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literatures.
  3. An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  4. The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.
  5. Clarity of thought; clarity of verbal expression; clarity of written expression and exposition

General Assessment Information

Assessments are to be submitted through Turnitin, and will be marked and returned via Grademark. For information about these tools, see:

http://www.mq.edu.au/iLearn/student_info/assignments.htm

For information about extensions, late penalties and special consideration, see OUA Policies and Procedures below.

 

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Participation 15% On-going
Quiz 15% On-going
Comparative Analysis 30% 5pm Sunday of Week 8
Essay 40% 5pm Friday of Week 13

Participation

Due: On-going
Weighting: 15%

Discussion board participation represents a commitment to the academic environment necessary to any good philosophy course.

This task will be assessed by the following criteria: quality of your posts and their timeliness (you should post within a week of the topic). Quality is not just measured by the philosophical content of your posts, but by your willingness to engage in discussion with your peers. Much of what you learn in philosophy you will learn by involving yourself in discussion and argument. So while we would like to see some well thought out responses to the topics for each week and to the reading questions, we would also really encourage you to respond to the messages of other students, ask questions, post your thoughts and engage fully in the philosophical community. You'll find that if you make the most of the discussion facilities available, not only will you maximise your participation marks, but you will also get more out of the course in general.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.
  • Clarity of thought; clarity of verbal expression; clarity of written expression and exposition

Quiz

Due: On-going
Weighting: 15%

There will be 10 weekly on-line quizzes worth a total of 15% (or a maximum of 1.5% for each of the 10 quizzes). Quizzes start in Week 3 (Rawls) and run until Week 12 (Global justice).

With this task you will be assessed on your understanding of the material as demonstrated by the correct selection of answers in a multiple choice quiz.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • A good general knowledge of some of the major theories and current debates in contemporary political philosophy

Comparative Analysis

Due: 5pm Sunday of Week 8
Weighting: 30%

The aim of the comparative analysis (1750 words) is to consolidate your understanding of the theories and issues discussed in the first half of the unit. You are required to critically analyse in comparative terms the central points of difference between two of the theories we discuss. 

This task will be assessed by the following criteria: content, structure, argument and critical analysis, written expression and referencing. A detailed rubric for this task will be supplied on iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • An ability to understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literatures.
  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • Clarity of thought; clarity of verbal expression; clarity of written expression and exposition

Essay

Due: 5pm Friday of Week 13
Weighting: 40%

The essay (2500 words) is designed to extend your understanding of a specific topic and to test your ability to engage with that topic in depth. Essay writing tests your ability to synthesise material from a range of readings and to express, analyse and structure key ideas and arguments clearly, logically and systematically. It also tests your ability to develop your own view, and to argue for that view in a cogent and sustained way. You will be expected to read and incorporate into your essay extra secondary sources beyond the required readings. 

This task will be assessed by the following criteria: content, structure, argument and critical analysis, written expression and referencing. A detailed rubric for this task will be supplied on iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • An ability to understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literatures.
  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.
  • Clarity of thought; clarity of verbal expression; clarity of written expression and exposition

Delivery and Resources

Required Readings

  • Textbook: Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction. (2nd edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2002.
  • Unit Readings: Further required readings for each week will be made available electronically through the Macquarie University Library, with links from iLearn.

Extra readings: Kymlicka provides suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter and offers useful comments about what each text contains. Some supplementary readings are available through the Library. Search for "PHIX357" in the "Unit Readings" tab in Multisearch at http://www.mq.edu.au/about/campus-services-and-facilities/library

 

 

Unit Schedule

Section 1: Equality and Inequality 

Week 1 

Lecture 1: Introduction: Equality and Diversity

No required reading

Week 2 

Lecture 2: Utilitarianism

1. Kymlicka, CPP, Ch. 2

Week 3 

Lecture 3: Rawls

1. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Harvard University Press, 1971), Ch. 1, Sections 1-6, Ch. 2, Sections 11-12, Ch. 3, Sections 24-26.

2. Kymlicka, CPP, Ch. 3, Sections 1-3 only.

Week 4 

Lecture 4: Dworkin

1. Ronald Dworkin, ‘What is Equality? Part 2: Equality of Resources’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 10:4, 1981, 283-345, esp. Section I-IV & VII.

2. Kymlicka, CPP, Ch. 3, Sections 4-5.

Week 5

1. Robert Nozick, ‘Distributive Justice’ (selections), Ch. 7 of Anarchy, State and Utopia, (New York: Basic Books, 1974)

2. Kymlicka, CPP, Ch. 4

Week 6 

Lecture 6: Analytical Marxism

1. Kymlicka, CPP, Ch. 5

Week 7 

Lecture 7: The Capabilities Approach

1. Amartya Sen, ‘Capability and Well-being’, in Martha Nussbaum & Amartya Sen (eds.), The Quality of Life, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993)

2. Martha Nussbaum, Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Introduction, Section IV; Chapter. 1, Sections IV-VI).

 

MID SEMESTER BREAK 2 WEEKS

 

Section 2: Diversity, Citizenship AND Justice

Week 8 

Lecture 8: Communitarianism

1. Michael Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, (New York: Cambridge University Press), Ch. 4

2. Kymlicka, CPP, Ch 6.

Week 9 

Lecture 9: Feminism

1. Susan Moller Okin, ‘Justice as Fairness: For Whom?’ Ch. 5 of Justice, Gender and the Family, (New York: Basic Books, 1989)

2. Eva Feder Kittay, ‘Human Dependency and Rawlsian Equality’, in Diana Meyers (ed.) Feminists Rethink the Self (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997)

Week 10 

Lecture 10: Citizenship

1. Joshua Cohen, ‘Deliberation and Democratic Legitimacy’ in James Bohman & William Rehg (eds) Deliberative Democracy: Essays on Reason and Politics, (MIT Press, 1997)

2. Anne Phillips, ‘Dealing with Difference: A Politics of Ideas or a Politics of Presence?’ in Goodin & Pettit (eds) Contemporary Political Philosophy

Week 11 

Lecture 11: Multiculturalism

1. Kymlicka, CPP, Ch. 8

2. Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, (Oxford: Clarendon, 1995), Ch. 5

Week 12 

Lecture 12: Global Justice

1. Brian Barry, ‘Humanity and Justice in Global Perspective’ in Goodin and Pettit (eds.), Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology

2. John Rawls, The Law of Peoples (Harvard, 1999), Part III, Sections 15 & 16.

3. Thomas Pogge, ‘Moral Universalism and Global Economic Justice, Ch.4. of Pogge World Poverty and Human Rights, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002)

Week 13 - No lecture

 

 

 

Policies and Procedures

Late Submission

Unless otherwise stated, late submission of written work will result in a deduction of 10% of the mark awarded for each week or part of a week beyond the due date, or date to which an extension has been granted.

Extension Request

Disruption to Studies Procedure (http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/procedure.html)

The University recognises that students may experience disruptions that adversely affect their academic performance in assessment activities.

The disruption to studies policy (http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html) applies only to serious and unavoidable disruptions that arise after a study period has commenced.

Serious and unavoidable disruption

The University classifies a disruption as serious and unavoidable if it:

  • could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student; and
  • was beyond the student's control; and
  • caused substantial disruption to the student's capacity for effective study and/or completion of required work; and
  • occurred during an event critical study period and was at least three (3) consecutive days duration, and/or
  • prevented completion of a final examination.

If you feel that you've been impacted by a serious and unavoidable disruption to study situation, submit an application as follows:

  1. Visit Ask MQ (https://ask.mq.edu.au) and use your OneID to log in via 'Current student domestic and international'
  2. Under 'Forms' select 'disruptions' and fill in your relevant details.
  3. Attach supporting documents by clicking 'Add a reply', click 'browse' and navigating to the files you want to attach, then click 'submit form' to send your notification and supporting documents
  4. Please keep copies of your original documents, as they may be requested in the future as part of the assessment process

Review

Once your submission is assessed, recommendations are sent to your unit convenor to ensure an appropriate solution for affected assessment(s) is organised.

OUA Specific Policies and Procedures

OUA Special Circumstances Process

Special Circumstances refers to late withdrawal from a unit and your request to have your circumstances taken into account for a possible refund of fees and removal of a "fail" result.

Applications for Special Circumstances are to be submitted to Open Universities Australia directly:

https://www.open.edu.au/public/student-admin-and-support/student-support-services/special-circumstances

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • An ability to understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literatures.
  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Essay

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Essay

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • Clarity of thought; clarity of verbal expression; clarity of written expression and exposition

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Essay

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • A good general knowledge of some of the major theories and current debates in contemporary political philosophy

Assessment task

  • Quiz

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • A good general knowledge of some of the major theories and current debates in contemporary political philosophy

Assessment task

  • Quiz

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Essay

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Essay

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • A good general knowledge of some of the major theories and current debates in contemporary political philosophy
  • An ability to understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literatures.
  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.
  • Clarity of thought; clarity of verbal expression; clarity of written expression and exposition

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Quiz
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Essay

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • An ability to understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literatures.
  • An ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  • The ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit.

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Essay