the strengths and weaknesses of just war theory
Please answer one of the following essay questions:
- Explain and evaluate the role that the “veil of ignorance” plays in Rawls’ liberal egalitarianism.
- Explain how John Rawls’ conception of ‘justice as fairness’ differs from utilitarian accounts of justice, with reference to the ‘difference principle’. Evaluate Rawls’ criticisms of utilitarianism.
- Explain why Karl Marx argues that property rights and wage-labour results in ‘exploitation’ and ‘alienation’. Evaluate the account of justice that it presupposes.
- Explain and evaluate the libertarian insistence that forcing individuals to pay tax in order to provide welfare benefits to the needy is unjust.
- Explain Robert Nozick’s account of a just initial acquisition of land. Is it coherent? Offer reasons for your answer.
- Explain and evaluate Robert Nozick’s libertarian criticisms of John Rawls.
- Explain and evaluate Michael Sandel’s communitarian criticisms of John Rawls.
- Explain Michael Sandel’s communitarian criticisms that liberalism presupposes a false conception of the “unencumbered self”. Are his criticisms justified?
- For the utilitarian, justice is utility. For detractors, it is not. Defend either position.
- Do you agree with Robert Nozick that historical entitlement to “holdings” (if fairly acquired and transferred) mean that any “end-state” or redistributive theory of justice will infringe on individual rights?
- ‘All politics requires dirty hands’. Evaluate this comment with reference to the work of Michael Walzer.
- Explain and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of just war theory, given the asymmetric nature of contemporary warfare. Discuss via reference to Michael Walzer’s work.
- Is citizenship theory needed to supplement the institutional and distributive focus of traditional theories of justice? Offer reasons for your answer
- Is civic virtue intrinsically important or instrumentally important?
- Is one’s position on multiculturalism dependent on one’s view of the liberal-communitarian debates on the “politics of the common good”?
- Explain and evaluate one major feminist account of the public-private distinction and its implications for political philosophy.
- Should contemporary feminism aspire to autonomy, equality, or some other norm? Offer reasons for your answer.
- Is caring opposed to justice? Offer reasons for your answer.
- With reference to philosophers studied in this course, explain and evaluate one of the following: liberalism, utilitarianism, Marxism, communitarianism, or libertarianism.
- Anybody wanting to write on a topic of their choosing must have their essay question approved by their tutor, or myself by May 11th, and it must be relevant to the unit.
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