Professor Luc Bovens, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science
Dr Gabriel Wollner, Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science
The course discusses key public policy questions from the perspective of moral and political philosophy, with a focus on questions of particular relevance to the context of contemporary China. The course is divided in two sections.
Examining how values and normative principles bear on policy making in a domestic context, the first section addresses questions like: Why should the public participate more in political decision making? How should income and wealth be distributed within society? What is the importance of a social safety net in a free market economy? How does freedom of speech and expression contribute to society and what are its limits? How can we design the right incentive structures conducive towards sustainable living? What justifies the state’s use of force in punishment?
Focusing on pressing issues in the global context, the second section raises questions including: What are the origins of international human rights legislation and what is its place in international politics? What do citizens of more affluent countries owe to the global poor? Who should bear the costs of climate change? And how can national ideologies be a force for the good?
For each of the sessions, we rely on newspaper editorials and journal articles that cover applications and special questions within the context of Chinese policy making and politics. This material will provide case studies to guide and inform our discussions. We will introduce, discuss, and practice techniques of philosophical argument and argumentative writing throughout the course.
Full course outline
About the instructors
Professor Luc Bovens is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method (LSE). He is the Head of Department and the coordinator of the MSc Philosophy and Public Policy. His main areas of research are moral and political philosophy, philosophy of economics, philosophy of public policy, Bayesian epistemology, rational and social choice theory.
Dr Gabriel Wollner is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method (LSE). His interests are in political philosophy and ethics, and the application of these inquiries to various issues in public policy. His current research is about justice in international trade and finance, as well as about individual obligations of justice under non-ideal conditions.