Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

215.5 sec. 001 - Foundations of Political Philosophy (Spring 2023)

Instructor: Sarah Song  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


Tu 10:00 AM - 12:40 PM
Location: 2240 Piedmont 102
From January 10, 2023
To April 18, 2023

Course Start: January 10, 2023
Course End: April 18, 2023
Class Number: 32592

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 17
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 18
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

In this course we will read and discuss major texts in contemporary political philosophy. The aim is to examine key concepts and theories with attention to their implications for law. The concepts we will explore include justice, equality, freedom, rights, and democracy. The authors we will read include John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Michael Walzer, Tommie Shelby, Ronald Dworkin, Elizabeth Anderson, Catharine MacKinnon, Kimberle Crenshaw, Alexander Bickel, Robert Dahl, Iris Marion Young, and Jeremy Waldron. In addition to analyzing the substance of the theories and the methods and approaches used by these authors, we will assess whether and how they attend to the role of race, gender, class, and other bases of structural injustice in developing their theories.

Students will be expected to devote considerable time to close reading of roughly one book or several articles per week, participate constructively in seminar discussion, and write a series of reflection papers.

Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.

This course is offered as part of the PhD Program in Jurisprudence & Social Policy (JSP) at Berkeley Law and can be used to fulfill a JSP Foundations or JSP seminar requirement. JD, JSD, and LLM students are welcome to enroll. The course presupposes no prior coursework in political theory or philosophy, but those unaccustomed to reading dense theoretical texts should plan to devote sufficient time to complete the readings. Students from departments outside the Law School must obtain permission from Prof. Song and complete a registration form provided by the Law School Registrar in order to enroll. There must also be space in the class.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP)

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