Research Methods in Political Philosophy (5 cr)
- 2012-09-26 - 2012-11-28
- Wed. 15-18
- Room 20.237, Jaume I building, Ciutadella Campus, UPF.
The course has, first, the aim to review the basic protocols of academic writing in
political philosophy, and deal with general issues such as the relationship between theory
and practice, the types of research questions, arguments and fallacies. Second, the course
will deal with various methods in political philosophy from conceptual analysis and
constructivism to Critical Theory and Cambridge School. The course will combine the
critical discussion of both the theoretical assumptions and the applications of these
1. Providing the basic tools necessary for writing, investigating and reading academic
work in political philosophy.
2. Familiarizing the students with the variety of methods for doing rigorous research in
3. Improving students´ writing and debating skills by means of an open and interactive
relation with the professors.
1. Introduction (C.U.)
2. Darwinism in Political Philosophy (P.C).
3. The Role of Conceptual Analysis in Political Philosophy (S.O.)
4. The Quest for Coherence in Political Philosophy (S.O.)
5. Political Philosophy, Social Science, and Political Practice (S.O.)
6. Critical Theory, Genealogy and Deconstruction (C.U.)
7. The Cambridge School & Begriffsgeschichte (C.U.)
8. How to write argumentative papers (P.C)
9. Presentation and Open Discussion of Research Proposals (1) (C.U.)
. Presentation and Open Discussion of Research Proposals (2) (C.U).
1. Assistance, class participation, presentation (50%)
2. Three-page project and its presentation (40 %)
3. Writing two brief summaries (between 250-450 words) of two article-length pieces in
political philosophy (10%)
- Students will receive the required readings by email one week in advance for each session.
- The project (point 2) is a preliminary step in the process of writing a good and rigorous MA
Thesis. Students´ ideas will be discussed towards the end of the course. At this stage, the
discussions will be open and informal. Taking into account also the discussion in the class, the
students will have to hand in a three-page project by December, 15th (by email to:
- For the summaries, please choose two chapters/articles from: P. Singer (ed), Applied Ethics; R.
Dworkin, "Liberal Community" in his Sovereign Virtue; T. Scanlon, "The Diversity of Objections
to Inequality", in M. Clayton and A. Williams (eds.), The Ideal of Equality; Derrida, The Force of
Law, in Cardozo Law Review; Zizek, “Against Human Rights”, in New Left Review.
G.A. Cohen How to write political philosophy
D. Copp (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory
U. Eco, How to write a thesis
A. Fisher, The Logic of Real Arguments
M. Foucault, Power and Discourse
J. Habermas, Theory and Practice
J. Habermas, Between Facts and Norms
J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Revised Edition)
J. Rawls, Justice as Fairness: a Restatement John Rawls, A Theory of Justice;
T. M. Scanlon, "Rawls on Justification", in Samuel Freeman, The Cambridge Companion
Q. Skinner, Visions of Politics
J. Williams, Style. Towards Clarity and Grace