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Political and Legal Philosophy:Constructivism & Critical Theory 848V7

Optional course, Philosophy MA, and Social and Political Thought MA

Spring Term 2009:

Seminar Room and time Wed 11-1 p.m. BH 252

Course convenor: Gordon Finlayson, j.g.finlayson@sussex.ac.uk, tel. (87)6629, Arts B340

Office hours: Tuesday 2-4 p.m.

Department Coordinator: Robbie Robb, s.l.robb@sussex.ac.uk (87)7378, Arts B259.

Course Outline and Reading List

The term ‘Kantian constructivism’ was introduced by John Rawls to describe a procedure for deriving
moral, legal and political standards from the bare idea of what it is to be a person or a rational agent.
Versions of this strategy, with or without the name ‘constructivism’, can be discovered not only in
Rawls’s derivation of his principles of justice from choices made in an original position, and in Kant’s
moral philosophy, but also in other O’Neill, philosophers such as Habermas, Scanlon. The course will
examine the structure and cogency of various political constructivist arguments, and examine some
of the chief arguments against these positions.

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