Law Schedule of Classes

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215.5 sec. 1 - Foundations of Political Philosophy (Spring 2016)

Instructor: Sarah Song  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Units: 3
Meeting Time: Th 2:10PM-5:00PM
Meeting Location: 2240 Piedmont

Course Start: January 14, 2016
Class Number (1Ls): 51290 (section 2)
Class Number (formerly Course Control Number) (Non-1Ls): 51257

In this course we will examine some key concepts and topics in political philosophy through close reading of texts. The focus will be on theories of equality and democracy. Some of the questions we will pursue include: What is equality? Is it about ensuring a fair distribution of things, a certain kind of relationship or standing that people have to each other, or something else entirely? Which kinds of inequality are objectionable, and why? How should we conceive of equality across racial and gender lines? What is democracy? Is it about preference aggregation, majority rule, deliberation, social equality, or something else? What is the relationship between democracy and rights? Is judicial review compatible with democracy?

The course presupposes no prior coursework in political theory or philosophy, but those unaccustomed to reading theory should allot sufficient time to complete the readings. Enrollment is open to JSP, JD, JSD, and LLM students as well as PhD students in the Political Science, Philosophy, and other departments. For graduate students outside the Law School, you must fill out the Law School Course Enrollment Application for UC Berkeley Graduate Students, which can be found here:

Requirements Satisfaction:

This is a course that fulfills Option 2 of the writing requirement with instructor approval. In order to qualify for Option 2, all students in the class must be writing a paper of 30 or more pages. Those students who wish to use this paper for the writing requirement must get instructor approval and submit their drafts for comment and revision.

Exam Notes: P
Course Category: Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP)
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Legal Theory and History

The following file is available for this course:


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Required Books are in blue

  • Democracy and its critics
    Robert A. Dahl
    Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, c1989.
    ISBN: 9780300049381
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: $33.11
    Note: prices are sampled from internet bookstores. Folletts prices are unavailable at this time.
  • On the social contract
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau; translated and edited by Donald A. Cress; introduced by Peter Gay
    Publisher: Hackett
    ISBN: 9780872200685
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: 9.95
    Price Source: user provided

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