This is the website for Philosophy 309i, section b: Philosophy of Peace, Law, and Justice.
The aim of this course is to really and seriously ask what the ideas of “peace,” “law,” and “justice” mean for us today. This means we will not simply be reading historical texts or philosophical theories from the past. Rather, we will be asking ourselves what these concepts mean for us, and what we want them to mean for us.
The basic hypothesis of the course is this: we do not yet have the intellectual tools to understand the complexities and threats of the world in which we live, a world characterized by ecological catastrophes, mass incarceration, transnational corporate power, historic levels of inequality, roboticized production and warfare, the seemingly unquestionable demand for the economy to “grow” at any cost, and on and on.
Given these conditions, how do we give meaning to the ideas of “peace, law, and justice”? We might even say that the purpose of this class is to ask ourselves the question: in conditions like these, what can a philosophy class do for us? What should it do?
We will begin with a week of discussing this question in order to determine how best to proceed with the class. We may decide to follow the syllabus. We may decide to take a different approach entirely.