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Martha C. Nussbaum : Courses and Seminars

Greenberg Seminar: Greek Tragedy and Justice
LAWS 92000
(A, BID)This seminar will study tragedies based on two mythic themes: the House of Atreus (Aeschylus' Oresteia, Sophocles' Elektra, Euripides' Elektra and Orestes), and the Theban cycle (Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone, Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes), considering themes of justice and law. We will then consider literary representations of the trial and death of Socrates, especially by Plato. Please send a statement about your background in literature to both instructors. Places will be reserved for 2 LL.M. students.Graded Pass/Fail.
Autumn 2016
Richard A. Posner, Martha C. Nussbaum
John Stuart Mill
LAWS 53361
(CL)A careful study of Mill's Utilitarianism in relation to his ideas of self-realization and of liberty. We will study closely at least Utilitarianism, On Liberty, the essays on Bentham and Coleridge, The Subjection of Women, and the Autobiography, trying to figure out whether Mill is a Utilitarian or an Aristotelian eudaimonist, and what view of "permanent human interests" and of the malleability of desire and preference underlies his political thought. If time permits we will also study his writings about India.Admission by permission of the instructor. Permission must be sought in writing by September 15. Prerequisite: An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation. This is a 500 level course. Ph.D. students in Philosophy and Political Theory may enroll without permission. I am eager to have some Economics graduate students in the class, and will discuss the philosophy prerequisite in a flexible way with such students.
Autumn 2016
Martha C. Nussbaum
Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Current Issues in General Jurisprudence
LAWS 61512
(++, A, SRP, CL, SEM)This is a seminar/workshop; many of whose participants are faculty from various related disciplines. It admits approximately ten students. Its aim is to study, each year, a topic that arises in both philosophy and the law and to ask how bringing the two fields together may yield mutual illumination. Most sessions are led by visiting speakers, from either outside institutions or our own faculty, who circulate their papers in advance. The session consists of a brief introduction by the speaker, followed by initial questioning by the two faculty coordinators, followed by general discussion, in which students are given priority. The topic for 2016-17 will expose students to cutting-edge work in general jurisprudence, that part of philosophy of law concerned with the central questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the nature of legal reasoning. We will be particularly interested in the way in which work in philosophy of language, metaethics, metaphysics, and other cognate fields of philosophy has influenced recent scholarly debates that have arisen in the wake of H.L.A. Hart’s seminal The Concept of Law (1961). Please see www.law.uchicago.edu/workshops/lawandphilosophy for additional information concerning each session.Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, and divinity, and law students.Students write a 20-25 page seminar paper at the end of the year. The paper may satisfy the Law School Substantial Writing Requirement. Students must enroll for all three quarters to receive credit.Students are admitted by permission of the instructors. They should submit a c.v. and a statement (reasons for interest in the course, relevant background in law and/or philosophy- including prior coursework) to Professor Leiter by email by September 20.
Autumn 2016
Martha C. Nussbaum, Brian Leiter
Feminist Philosophy
LAWS 47701
(CL, CORE, BID, 1E)The course is an introduction to the major varieties of philosophical feminism. After studying some key historical texts in the Western tradition (Wollstonecraft, Rousseau, J. S. Mill), we examine four types of contemporary philosophical feminism: Liberal Feminism (Susan Moller Okin, Martha Nussbaum), Radical Feminism (Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin), Difference Feminism (Carol Gilligan, Annette Baier, Nel Noddings), and Postmodern "Queer" Gender Theory (Judith Butler, Michael Warner). After studying each of these approaches, we will focus on political and ethical problems of contemporary international feminism, asking how well each of the approaches addresses these problems. NOTE: Undergraduates may enroll only with the permission of the instructor.
Spring 2017
Martha C. Nussbaum
Greenberg Seminar: Greek Tragedy and Justice
LAWS 92000
(A)This seminar will study tragedies based on two mythic themes: the House of Atreus (Aeschylus' Oresteia, Sophocles' Elektra, Euripides' Elektra and Orestes), and the Theban cycle (Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone, Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes), considering themes of justice and law. We will then consider literary representations of the trial and death of Socrates, especially by Plato. Please send a statement about your background in literature to both instructors. Places will be reserved for 2 LL.M. students.Graded Pass/Fail.
Spring 2017
Richard A. Posner, Martha C. Nussbaum
Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Current Issues in General Jurisprudence
LAWS 61512
(++, A, SRP, CL, SEM)This is a seminar/workshop; many of whose participants are faculty from various related disciplines. It admits approximately ten students. Its aim is to study, each year, a topic that arises in both philosophy and the law and to ask how bringing the two fields together may yield mutual illumination. Most sessions are led by visiting speakers, from either outside institutions or our own faculty, who circulate their papers in advance. The session consists of a brief introduction by the speaker, followed by initial questioning by the two faculty coordinators, followed by general discussion, in which students are given priority. The topic for 2016-17 will expose students to cutting-edge work in general jurisprudence, that part of philosophy of law concerned with the central questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the nature of legal reasoning. We will be particularly interested in the way in which work in philosophy of language, metaethics, metaphysics, and other cognate fields of philosophy has influenced recent scholarly debates that have arisen in the wake of H.L.A. Hart’s seminal The Concept of Law (1961). Please see www.law.uchicago.edu/workshops/lawandphilosophy for additional information concerning each session.Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, and divinity, and law students.Students write a 20-25 page seminar paper at the end of the year. The paper may satisfy the Law School Substantial Writing Requirement. Students must enroll for all three quarters to receive credit.Students are admitted by permission of the instructors. They should submit a c.v. and a statement (reasons for interest in the course, relevant background in law and/or philosophy) to the instructors by e mail by September 20.
Spring 2017
Martha C. Nussbaum, Brian Leiter
Global Inequality
LAWS 53294
(SRP, WP, CL, BID, SEM)Global income and wealth are highly concentrated. The richest 2% of the population own about half of the global assets. Per capita income in the United States is around $47,000 and in Europe it is around $30,500, while in India it is $3,400 and in Congo, it is $329. There are equally unsettling inequalities in longevity, health, and education.In this interdisciplinary seminar, we ask what duties nations and individuals have to address these inequalities and what are the best strategies for doing so. What role must each country play in helping itself? What is the role of international agreements and agencies, of NGOs, of political institutions, and of corporations in addressing global poverty? How do we weigh policies that emphasize growth against policies that emphasize within-country equality, health, or education?In seeking answers to these questions, the class will combine readings on the law and economics of global development with readings on the philosophy of global justice. A particular focus will be on the role that legal institutions, both domestic and international, play in discharging these duties. For, example, we might focus on how a nation with natural resources can design legal institutions to ensure they are exploited for the benefit of the citizens of the country. Students will be expected to write a paper, which may qualify for substantial writing credit.
Winter 2017
Martha C. Nussbaum, David A. Weisbach
Greenberg Seminar: Greek Tragedy and Justice
LAWS 92000
(A)This seminar will study tragedies based on two mythic themes: the House of Atreus (Aeschylus' Oresteia, Sophocles' Elektra, Euripides' Elektra and Orestes), and the Theban cycle (Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone, Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes), considering themes of justice and law. We will then consider literary representations of the trial and death of Socrates, especially by Plato. Please send a statement about your background in literature to both instructors. Places will be reserved for 2 LL.M. students.Graded Pass/Fail.
Winter 2017
Richard A. Posner, Martha C. Nussbaum
Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Current Issues in General Jurisprudence
LAWS 61512
(++, A, SRP, CL, SEM)This is a seminar/workshop; many of whose participants are faculty from various related disciplines. It admits approximately ten students. Its aim is to study, each year, a topic that arises in both philosophy and the law and to ask how bringing the two fields together may yield mutual illumination. Most sessions are led by visiting speakers, from either outside institutions or our own faculty, who circulate their papers in advance. The session consists of a brief introduction by the speaker, followed by initial questioning by the two faculty coordinators, followed by general discussion, in which students are given priority. The topic for 2016-17 will expose students to cutting-edge work in general jurisprudence, that part of philosophy of law concerned with the central questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the nature of legal reasoning. We will be particularly interested in the way in which work in philosophy of language, metaethics, metaphysics, and other cognate fields of philosophy has influenced recent scholarly debates that have arisen in the wake of H.L.A. Hart’s seminal The Concept of Law (1961). Please see www.law.uchicago.edu/workshops/lawandphilosophy for additional information concerning each session.Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, and divinity, and law students.Students write a 20-25 page seminar paper at the end of the year. The paper may satisfy the Law School Substantial Writing Requirement. Students must enroll for all three quarters to receive credit.Students are admitted by permission of the instructors. They should submit a c.v. and a statement (reasons for interest in the course, relevant background in law and/or philosophy) to the instructors by e mail by September 20.
Winter 2017
Martha C. Nussbaum, Brian Leiter