The Moral Foundations of Politics

Yale Course , Prof. Ian Shapiro

Lecture 1: Information and Housekeeping

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Lecture Details :

Moral Foundations of Politics (PLSC 118)

Professor Shapiro explains the format and structure of the class during this opening session. He reviews the syllabus, and asks the central question of the course: What makes a government legitimate? He briefly explains the five ways to answer this question that he will focus on throughout the semester. The first three traditions are those of the Enlightenment: utilitarianism, Marxism, and social contract theory. The fourth and fifth overarching ways to answer the central question in this course are the anti-Enlightenment and the democratic traditions. Professor Shapiro then introduces the topic for the next lecture, the Eichmann problem.

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Spring 2010.

Course Description :

Information and Housekeeping - Natural Law Roots of the Social Contract Tradition - Origins of Classical Utilitarianism - Classical Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice - From Classical to Neoclassical Utilitarianism - The Neoclassical Synthesis of Rights and Utility - Limits of the Neoclassical Synthesis - The Marxian Challenge - Marx's Theory of Capitalism - Marxian Exploitation and Distributive Justice - The Marxian Failure and Legacy - Appropriating Locke Today - Rights as Side Constraints and the Minimal State - Compensation versus Redistribution - The Rawlsian Social Contract - Distributive Justice and the Welfare State - The "Political-not-Metaphysical" Legacy - The Burkean Outlook - Democracy and Majority Rule - Democratic Justice: Theory,Applications

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