Fundamental Concepts in Political Theory: Equality

This course is a seminar in contemporary political philosophy. The aim is to explore some key political ideas and topics with attention to their implications for law and politics. We will focus on the concept of equality. Equality is widely held to be a fundamental value in liberal democratic societies but what is equality, equality of what, and equality for whom? Is equality about ensuring a fair distribution of goods or a certain kind of relationship or standing that people have to each other? How should we conceive of racial and gender equality? Is economic inequality objectionable in itself or only under certain circumstances such as when it gives some an unacceptable degree of power over others or undermines the fairness of basic social and political institutions? How should we think about equality across borders? We will read texts by Bernard Williams, T.M. Scanlon, John Rawls, Michael Walzer, Ronald Dworkin, Elizabeth Anderson, Martha Nussbaum, I.M Young.








Gender Studies