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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 relationships and 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 society and the market as the distribution mechanism, taxation, international trade and economic regionalism. We will uncover the political and ethical assumptions underlying key economic theories with respect to these themes.

Course objectives

This course aims to combine philosophical and political economy approaches to develop a critical understanding of several themes such as the market mechanism, state-market relations and international trade.

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

  • the linkages between theories of distributive justice and political economy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • evaluate political and economic arrangements concerning the role of the state in economy, taxation, international trade, etc. with respect to human welfare and justice,

  • develop critical and argumentative skills through seminar discussion and analysis of philosophical texts,

  • practice, refine and further develop oral argumentation and presentation skills in political philosophy,

  • critically compare and synthesize the theories and concepts of the authors discussed and to apply them to contemporary conceptual debates and problems in writing,

  • provide critical and constructive review of other's work through peer-review,

  • carry out research on both theoretical/conceptual and applied questions of distributive justice and political economy and provide research results in writing.


See: MA Philosophy 60 EC

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

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

  • Attending seminars (13 weeks x 3 hours): 39 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 113 hours

  • Essay proposal: 16 hours

  • Peer review and feed-back: 15 hours

  • Presentation: 12 hours

  • Additional readings: 25 hours

  • Final essay: 60 hours

Assessment method


  • Reading memos and participation: 10%

  • Class presentation: 20%

  • Essay proposal and peer-review: 20%

  • Final essay: 50%

Note: attendance is required – without sufficient attendance students will be excluded from submitting a final paper.


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests. A subtest can be graded as unsatisfactory.


The resit consists of one examination for all parts at once, consisting of a final paper. The mark for the resit replaces all previously earned marks for subtests.

Class participation and completion of practical assignments such as the oral presentation is a mandatory requirement for taking the resit..
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • posting texts and other documents (syllabus, assessment criteria, etc.).

  • announcements

  • submission of assignments (reading memos, essay proposals, peer- feedback and final essay)

  • circulating readings and other relevant material

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. S. Bagatur


Not applicable.