Philosophy and Public Policy
This information is for the 2012/13 session.
BSc. Philosophy and Economics; BSc. Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method; BSc. Politics and Philosophy. Available as an outside option to all second or third year UG students, and to General Course students, but there is a cap of 45 students.
None. Taking the course after or in conjunction with PH214 Morality and Values, or GV262 Political Concepts will enable the student to get more out of the course. But the course can be taken independently.
The course offers critical reflection on the design and evaluation of public policies from the perspective of moral and political philosophy. To this end, we study a range of theories and concepts that are used in policy evaluation. We often discuss and evaluate them by focusing on specific policy proposals. The course addresses questions such as:
- How should we apply philosophy to public policy?
- When should we rely on markets to address policy problems?
- What are the moral shortcomings of cost-benefit analysis?
- When is government paternalism justified?
- How should funding for schools be determined?
- How should health care resources be allocated?
- Is there anything wrong with workfare? Should welfare be unconditional?
- Should pornography be banned?
- What does it mean to be disadvantaged?
- How should we distribute globally? Can co-nationals help each other before they help those in greater need abroad?
1 hour weekly lecture, alongside PH415 Masters students; 1 hour class teaching.
Two 1,500 word essays in the first term; Two 1,500 word essays in the second term.
Wolff, J. (2011) Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry, Routledge.
Satz, D. (2010) Why Some Things Should Not be For Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets, Oxford University Press.
Kelman, S. 'Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Ethical Critique (with replies)'. AEI Journal on Government and Society Regulation (January/February pp. 33-40
Sunstein, C. and Thaler, R. (2008) Nudge, Yale University Press.
O'Neill, J. and O'Neill, M (2012) Social Justice and the Future of Flood Insurance, Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Van Parijs, P. (1998) Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism? Oxford University Press.
Wolff, J. and DeShalit, A. (2007) Disadvantage, Oxford University Press.
Laborde, C.(2008) Critical Republicanism: The Hijab Controversy and Political Philosophy, Oxford University Press.
Segall, S. (2009) Health, Luck and Justice, Princeton University Press.
Pogge, T. (2008) World Poverty and Human Rights, 2nd edition, Polity Press.
One 3-hour exam: 100% of final grade.