Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory


Spring Semester 2018

All classes meet in 141 Boalt Hall (unless otherwise noted*), Fridays from 12:00pm-3:15pm. To request a copy of papers contact:

Course description:

This course is a workshop for discussing work-in-progress in moral, political, and legal theory. The workshop creates a space for students to engage directly with philosophers, political theorists, and legal scholars working on normative questions toward the goal of fostering critical thinking about concepts of value and developing analytical thinking and writing skills. Another aim is to bring together people from different disciplines and perspectives who have strong normative interests or who speak to issues philosophers and theorists should know something about. In Spring 2018, the theme will be democracy. The list of invited speakers is below.

The format of the course is as follows. For the sessions with guest presenters, lunch will be served starting at 12:00. We’ll begin at 12:15. A designated commentator will lead off with a 15-minute comment on the paper. The presenter will have 5-10 minutes to respond and then we will open up the discussion to the group. The first part of the course will be open to non-enrolled students, faculty, and visitors who wish to participate in the workshop discussion. We’ll stop for a break at 2 and those not enrolled in the course will leave. Enrolled students will continue the discussion with the guest from 2:10 to 3:00.

This is a cross-listed/room-shared course. Law Students enroll through the Law School (Law 210.2B), the Philosophy Department (Philosophy 290-6), or the Political Science Department (PS 211). The first class will meet on Friday, January 19. 

Students enrolled or interested in enrolling should visit the bCourses site:
January 19 Professor Joshua Cohen
Niko Kolodny

Introductory meeting
(for enrolled students only)

January 26 Charles Beitz
Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics
Princeton University

“How is Partisan
Gerrymandering Unfair?”


February 2

Emilee Chapman
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Stanford University

“Challenges in Promoting Democratic Partisanship”

February 9 Richard Brooks
Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law
Columbia University

To Call Forth: Creating and Maintaining Constitutive Distinctions through Spoken Address

February 16 Josiah Ober
Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor, Political Science and Classics
Stanford University

Selections from
Demopolis: Democracy Before Liberalism in Theory and Practice

February 23 Alex Guerrero
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Rutgers University

The Epistemic and Metaphysical Roles of Voting: Addressing the Dual-Role Dilemma

March 2 Paul Pierson
John Gross Endowed Chair, Professor of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
“Goodbye to Pluralism? Studying Power in Contemporary American Politics”
March 9 Professor Joshua Cohen

For enrolled students only
Office Hours


March 16

Gabriel Lenz
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
“The Importance of Knowing What Goes With What: Reinterpreting the Evidence on Policy Attitude Stability”
March 23 Alvin Goldman
Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science
Rutgers University
“Free Speech, Fake News, 
and Democracy”
April 6 Daniel Viehoff
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
New York University
Abstract: “Power and Equality”
April 13

George Borjas
Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

“What Does Immigration Economics Imply about Immigration Policy?”

April 20 Meena Krishnamurthy
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Michigan
“White Blindness”
April 27*
Room 145
Bertrall Ross
Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley

Selections from
Gerrymandering Harms

Workshop Archives