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Distributive Justice and Political Economy


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to students enrolled in the MA Philosophy 60 EC, specialisation Philosophical Perspectives on Politics and the Economy.


This course will provide a selective survey of historical and contemporary debates on philosophical approaches to questions of political economy and justice. We will combine the political economy approach (understood as the integrated study of the relationships of power, production, markets, trade, and distribution) with the philosophical assessment of these arrangements with respect to human welfare and justice. We will explore several themes in political theory, such as the relations between individuals, the state, society, and the economy; the distribution of burdens and benefits throughout a market society; government-market relations; taxation; and globalization. We will combine philosophical and political economy approaches to develop a critical understanding of these themes.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • key themes in political economy and distributive justice, including their relation to ongoing real-world debates.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the concepts and arguments studied;

  • employ them successfully to understand and address contemporary real-world debates.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Assessment method


  • Two short essays (25% each)

  • Final essay (50%)

Class attendance is required and includes preparatory reading and small written assignments.


The final mark for the course is determined by (i) the weighted average of the essays combined with (ii) the class attendance requirement.


Students can resit the assessment if their overall grade for the entire course is 5 or less. This requires writing a new essay weighted at 100% of the grade. It is not possible to make up for the attendance requirement.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

Students will have an opportunity to discuss the grading of their essays with the instructor.

Reading list

The full reading list will be made available at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number, which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. T.R. Wells


Not applicable.