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Global Distributive Justice and Political Economy (EP2)


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: PPE, or Ethics and Politics

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: Philosophy of Law, or Philosophy of Political Science

(Students who have obtained a BA degree in Philosophy from Leiden University are admissible to all specialisations of the MA Philosophy 60 EC.)


In this seminar we will look at contemporary discussions of distributive economic justice. The emphasis will be on contemporary theories of distributive justice. In addition we will look at what these proposals imply for domestic economic institutions, such as labor markets, welfare policies and taxation, as well as for international institutions, such as immigration policies, international financial arrangements, poverty and development.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • acquaint students with contemporary theories of disctributive justice, in particular those of John Rawls, Amartya Sen, G.A. Cohen, and others;

  • familiarize students with applications of these theories to real-world problems such as welfare policies, taxation schemes, global poverty alleviation.

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

  • the theories of distributive justice of Rawls, Sen, Cohen, Dworkin, Nozick and others;

  • theories justice in taxation;

  • theories of justice and welfare policy;

  • theory of global distributive justice.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • recognize arguments of distributive justice and apply these in real world contexts;

  • be able to read and understand contemporary research in distributive justice;

  • formulate and present an argument of distributive justice in writing and in a presentation;

  • understand the connections between abstract theories of distributive justice and real-life situations;

  • iIndependently survey and research a project in distributive justice.


See Timetables MA Philosophy 2015-2016

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load (10 EC x 28 hrs): 280 hours

  • Attending seminar sessions: 42 hours

  • Readings: 100 hours

  • Assignments: 50 hours

  • Presentation: 28 hours

  • Peer review final essay: 5 hours

  • Final essay: 55 hours

Assessment method

  • Attendance: you cannot miss more than 3 sessions for whatever reason.

  • 10 weekly assignments. These will be graded as pass/no-pass. You are required to have at least 7 passes. They do not count towards your final grade, but you cannot take the exam without 7 passes.

  • Prepare and give a presentation about an assigned text with a small group. This presentation counts for 10% of your final grade.

  • Review the draft version for the final essay of a seminar participant. This will be graded and counts for 5% of your final grade.

  • Final essay of app. 4000-5000 words. This counts for 85% of your final grade.


The resit will consist of an essay of app. 4000-5000 words. Note that you cannot take the resit if you have not attended class or submitted at least 7 passed weekly assignments.


Blackboard will be used for the disssemination of announcements, texts, assignments, results and the submission of the final essay.

Reading list

To be announced.


Please register for this course via Study administration system uSis
See also Registration for lectures and tests

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. B.J.E. Verbeek