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Unit information: Justice between generations in 2015/16

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Unit name Justice between generations
Unit code SPAI30016
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Fowler
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will acquaint students with leading contemporary research on intergenerational ethics and with the problems this research poses for widely held ethical beliefs. It aims to encourage students to develop original opinions on difficult ethical questions and to familiarise students with core ethical concepts and ideas, such as utilitarianism and contractualism, and understand their relevance to analysing a variety of interrogational cases. A range of normative issues arising from intergenerational issues will be considered, such as harm to future generations, e.g. climate change and resource depletion; the permissibility of abortion; parental rights and their limits; and intergenerational equality, including a discussion of private schools and inheritance.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an appreciation of the relevance of ethical theories for practical political problems.
  2. Critically engage with the work of leading political philosophers in order to sustain an independent argument.
  3. Draw on detailed knowledge of relevant case studies
  4. Write clearly and precisely on intergenerational issues.

Teaching Information

Either model 1: 3 hour seminar Or model 2: l hour lecture and 2 hour seminar

Assessment Information

1500 word essay (25%) 3000 word essay (75%). Both assessments assess all learning outcomes.

Reading and References

  1. Parfit, Derek Reasons and Persons.(Oxford: Clarendon Press) 1984.
  2. Clayton, Matthew. Justice and Legitimacy in Upbringing. (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2006.
  3. Daniels, Norman. Am I my parent’s keeper?: An essay on justice between young and old. (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 1990.
  4. Jarvis Thompson, Judith. A defence of abortion. Philosophy and Public Affairs. Vol. 1. No. 1. 1971
  5. Swift, Adam. How not to be a hypocrite: School choice for the morally perplexed parent. (London: Routledge), 2003.
  6. Archard, David and Benatar, David. Procreation and Parenthood: The ethics of bearing and rearing children. (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2010.