man is said to have a right to his property,
he may be equally said to have a
property in his rights."
of the course is to examine some of the fundamental issues discussed by
contemporary political theorists. There are many fashions of doing
this, e.g., the study of the
schools of thought or the contemporary political theorists, but we
would rather prefer the way of an attempt to make sense of the issues
in our own world. We shall
approach this by focusing on some of
the most pressing political problems facing western societies at
including the nature and justification of liberty, justice, and
democracy; the nature of power, punishment, and civic disobedience;
the fundamentals of the debates between political left and political
right; the modern state
citizenship; the political significance of nationalism and
multiculturalism; and finally some claims in global context. An
examination of these issues through the
texts of a number of important political theorists writing over the
years or so will help us to understand and assess many of the complex
in contemporary political theory as well providing insight into how
theory can clarify important policy issues. Our final goal is to enable
students to write a critical essay on one of the topics enumerated at
the bottom of this page (see under Assessment).
Outline and Bibliography
Below, I list the main topics and primary bibliographies to be covered
during the semester.
I. Political Theory
Today: an overview
- Pettit, Philip: Political Theory: An
Overview. In. Pettit, P. (ed.): Contemporary Political
Theory. NY, Toronto: Macmillan, 1991, pp. 1-16.
John: Justice as Fairness: Political
not Metaphysical. Philosophy and Public Affairs (14), No. 3, 1985, pp.
Robert: Distributive justice.
In. DICPP, pp. 73-82.
Cohen, G.A.: Where the
action is: on the site of distributive justice. In. DICPP, pp. 100-114.
Walzer, Michael: Spheres
of Justice. NY: Basic Books, 1983, Chapter 1.
Michael: Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. In. DICPP, pp.
III. On Liberty: The Idea of
John: A Theory of Justice. Cambridge: Belknap Press,
1999, Chapter 4.
Hart, Herbert: Rawls
on Liberty and Its Priority. In.: Hart, H.: Essays in Jurisprudence and
Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993, pp. 223-247.
Berlin, Isaiah: Two
Concepts of Liberty. Oxford: OUP, 1971.
Raz, Joseph: The
Morality of Freedom. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986, Chapter 15.
Wolff, Robert: In
Defence of Anarchism. New York: Harper and Row, 1970, Part One.
The Limits of Liberty
- Simmons, A. John: Tacit
Consent and Political Obligation. Philosophy and Public
Affairs, No. 3, 1976, pp. 274-291.
- Wolff, Robert: In
Defence of Anarchism. New York: Harper and Row, 1970, Part Three.
- Gauthier, David: Morals
by Agreement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. (A
Syllabus by G. Williams)
- Scanlon, Thomas: Contractualism
and Utilitarism. In.: Sen, A. and Williams, B. (eds.):
Utilitarism and beyond. Cambridge: CUP, 1982, pp. 103-128.
- Ricker, William H.: Liberalism
against Populism. Long Grove, Illionis: Waveland Press,
1982, Chapters 1 and 10.
Cohen, Joshua: Deliberation
legitimacy. In. DICPP, pp. 342-360.
Rawls, John: The
domain of the political and overlapping consensus. In. DICPP,
VI. Fundamentals in the Debate
between Political Left and Political Right
- Oakeshott, Michael: On Being
Conservative. In: Oakeshott, M.:
Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays. London: Methuen,1962, pp.
- Hayek, Friedrich: Why I am not
a Conservative. In: Hayek,
Fr.: The Constitution of Liberty. Chicago: Regnery, 1978, pp. 397-411.
- Rawls, John: The Priority of
Right and the Ideas Of the Good. Philosophy and Public Affairs,
No. 4, 1988, pp. 251-266.
- Taylor, Charles: Cross-proposes:
The Liberal-Communitarian Debate. In. DICPP, pp.195-212.
VII. Nationalism and
Robert: In Defense of the Nation.
In. DICPP, pp. 271-285.
Miller, David: In
of Nationality. In. DICPP, pp. 301-318.
- Pocock, John G. A.: The Ideal of
Citizenship Since Classical Times. In. Gershon, S. (ed.): The
Citizenship Debates. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998,
- Sassen, Saskia: The
Repositioning of Citizenship. New Centennial
Review, No. 2, 2003, pp. 41-66.
- MacIntyre, Alasdair: Is
patriotism a virtue? In. DICPP, pp.286-300.
- Walzer, Michael: What Does It
Mean to Be an "American"? Social Research, No. 3, 2004,
IX. Power and Punishment
Michel: Two Lectures. In. C. Gordon (ed.):
Power/Knowledge (Selected Interviews and Other Writings). NY:
Pantheon, pp. 78-108.
Antony: Punishment, communication
and community. In. DICPP, pp. 387-407.
Von Hirsch, Andrew: Punishment,
penance and the
state: a reply to Duff. In. DICPP, pp. 408-422.
X. Global Claims
- Mingst, Karen A.: Essentials
of International Relations. New York: W. W. Norton &
Company, 2012, Chapter 3.
- Rodrick, Dani: The
Globalization Paradox. New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
2012, Chapters 9-11.
- Clapham, Andrew: Human Rights
- A Very Short Introduction.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, Chapters 3-4.
- Meyer, John M.: Political
Theory and the Enviroment. In Dryzek, J. et al. (eds.): The
Oxford Handbook of Political Theory, Chapter 42.
Lecture Notes József
Zoltán Málik: Contemporary Political Theory. Budapest:
There are two anthologies we use. One (dicpp as you
can see in the above list) is a book published by Routledge, another is an unpublished,
own-used chrestomathy edited by me, which contains all the other texts (in
topics I-IX) not belonging to dicpp.
the end of the semester student has to write and send me an essay on
one of the topics we discussed in the semester.
like you to compose your text in a way that the topic coincides with
your interest and it also concerns a crucial problem perceived in
your own country.
Based upon the materials of the course, here there is a list of topics
in question form you may choose to discuss:
- Are states entitled to try to make us
into better people?
- Should be free speech unlimited?
- Does religious belief entitle people
to special consideration?
- Do we have rights against spouses,
- What is the borderline of loyality?
What is the basis of the right to veto in a community you belong to?
- Is it a good thing, or a very bad
one, that people have patriotic feelings?
diversity valuable? Does the recognition of culture have a dark side?
- Should states prevent other states
from committing atrocities within their borders?
- How does punish the state animal
torture? (Do animals have rights against us at all?)
- Freely chosen topic.
In the discussion, especially if you make up your mind for the 10th
item in the list, try to answer the questions below:
- What makes you opt for the topic discussed in your paper?
- How did you think about the problem earlier by common sense or by
the chosen issue from a point of view you like it, and from a point of
view you do not but it is reasonable.
- Work out arguments, that is, not
just statements of opinion, but
developed reasoning that is intended to lend support to one position
rather than another.
- Try to
generalize your claims. Your opinion is either from your way of
life or your own philosophy, or you belive in that because
of considering it as an exceptional issue. If the case
is the last one, what could be the reason?
Though page number
is far less important than the content and quality, the size of the
paper should be between 10 and 20 pages.
You may as well discuss and think over the
content of essay together at home, but everybody
has to write his own paper individually and send it to me via
standardize the formatting of your paper, please comply with the
requirement of MLA standard
Please, write "CPT_your name"
the subject of the email, and convert
your attached paper into
. (Don't send your paper in other
format such as doc, odt, rtf).
course is a part of the ERASMUS+ Program at Faculty of Law,
Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest