How much freedom is most conducive to intellectual, moral, and economic flourishing? To social justice? What are the proper limits of government power? Of the free market? What grounds individual rights? These are among the questions we'll discuss in this course, which is designed to introduce students to central themes in philosophy by considering the philosophical underpinnings and implications of libertarianism. The primary aim of the course is to help students formulate their own views on justice, political and economic freedom, the legitimacy of the state, and the status of the individual.
There are no prerequisites, and no prior exposure to philosophy whatsoever is required or expected. The course will be run as a seminar vitally dependent on active student participation. Students will be encouraged to speak candidly and often in class discussions and will be expected to prepare each reading assignment thoroughly. Readings are drawn from both classical and contemporary sources. There will be several short papers, several tests, and a final exam.