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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. The course is divided into three main parts. In the first part, we will explore the prominent contemporary theories of justice including liberal egalitarianism, libertarianism and the capabilities approach. In the second part, we will investigate the political economy of the market focusing on the moral and efficiency arguments for and against the market. In the third and final part of the course we will explore several themes in in political theory, such as justice in production, global distributive justice, international trade, basic income, taxation and justice in finance.

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.


The timetable is available on the folowing website:

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: 122 hours

  • Essay proposal: 16 hours

  • Peer review and feed-back: 6 hours

  • Presentation: 12 hours

  • Additional readings: 25 hours

  • Final essay: 60 hours

Assessment method


  • Reading memos and participation: 10%

  • Class presentation: 10%

  • Peer-review: 10%

  • Essay proposal: 20%

  • Final essay: 50%


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several exam components (reading memos and participation, class presentation and peer review, essay proposal, final essay). An exam component can be graded as unsatisfactory.

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


The resit will consist of a written final paper (70%). The resit does not cover reading memos, participation, class presentation and peer-review.

Class participation and completion of practical assignments are mandatory requirements for taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

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.