PHIL 321: Social and Political Philosophy [Fall 2017]


One of the main tasks of political philosophy is to come up with theories of justice. How should society be organized? How do we define justice, and what is its relationship to injustice? Some of the most important work in 20th-century political philosophy, from Rawls’s Theory of Justice to Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, attempts to answer these questions. But are these philosophers missing something? In her classic work of feminist political philosophy, Justice, Gender, and the Family (JGF)Susan Moller Okin argues that theories of justice systematically ignore or distort the ways in which gender affects how we think about justice. By reading classic texts from 20th-century political philosophy together with Okin’s work, and the work of other feminist political philosophers, we will:

  • Survey influential theories of justice,
  • Assess Okin’s criticisms of these theories, and
  • Explore what changes, if any, we should make to our understanding of justice in light of these criticisms.