Theories of Distributive Justice (20248). 2 units. The first four weeks of this seminar focus upon Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard Univ. Press, 2014), the most important book on income distribution in some years. The course will then follow the debate on egalitarianism that has taken place since John Rawls (1971) in political philosophy. Philosophical readings will be critiqued from the philosophical and economic viewpoints. Authors discussed will be Rawls and John Harsanyi on the veil of ignorance as a thought experiment; neo-Lockeanism according to Robert Nozick; resource egalitarianism according to Ronald Dworkin; and equality of opportunity according to Richard Arneson, G.A. Cohen, and John Roemer. Economics background at the level of intermediate micro-economics is required; experience shows that students lacking this background do not follow the lectures. An appropriate prerequisite is intermediate microeconomics or PLSC 517. There will be a number of problem sets in the style of economics and three short essays in the style of analytical philosophy. Permission of the instructor required if there is an ambiguity concerning the economic prerequisite. Also PLSC 595a/ECON 791a. J. Roemer.
Note: This course will meet according to the calendar of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The seminar will now meet on Wednesdays, 8:30 until 10:20 a.m. The first class meeting will be on Wednesday, September 9.
Course Bidding: In addition to listing this course among permission-of-instructor selections, students should submit a statement of interest, including their preparation in economics, by June 25 at 4:30 p.m.