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Martha Nussbaum : Courses and Seminars

Greenberg Seminar: Law and the Literature of the British Empire
LAWS 95902
This seminar will read fiction written during and about the British Empire, with a particular, though not exclusive, focus on India. Authors read will include John Buchan, H. Rider Haggard, Rabindranath Tagore, E. M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, Mulk Raj Anand, George Orwell, and J. G. Farrell. Students interested in participating should send Prof. Nussbaum a short statement giving your reasons for your interest in the seminar and telling us about your background in literature and relevant parts of history. This seminar is capped at 12. Approximately 10 seats will be allocated to J.D. students and the rest to LL.M. students. Graded Pass/Fail.
Autumn 2014
Richard A. Posner, Martha Nussbaum, Dipesh Chakrabarty
Utilitarian Ethics
LAWS 51206
The British Utilitarians were social radicals who questioned conventional morality as a basis for both personal and public choice and proposed an alternative that they believed to be both more scientific and more morally adequate. In part because of the widespread acceptance of pieces of their views in economics and political science, the original subtlety and radical force of the views is often neglected. This seminar, focusing on John Stuart Mill and Henry Sidgwick, aims to examine sympathetically what classical Utilitarianism may still offer to philosophical ethics, and to see how the strongest criticisms of Utilitarianism measure up to the texts of its founders. Although it is hardly possible to study Utilitarianism as an ethical theory without attending to its political role, we shall focus for the most part on ethics, and on two works above all: Mill’s Utilitarianism and Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics, combining these with Mill’s The Subjection of Women, his Autobiography, and several key essays. Along the way we shall be investigating the views of Bentham, Mill, and Sidgwick about animal suffering, women’s equality, and sexual orientation. Among the critics of Utilitarianism, we shall consider writings of Bernard Williams, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, Jon Elster, Elizabeth Anderson, and John Harsanyi. 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. The grade is based on a final seminar paper of 20-25 pages, an oral seminar presentation, and class participation.
Autumn 2014
Martha Nussbaum
Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Free Speech and Its Critics
LAWS 61512
The topic for 2014-15 will be "Free Speech and Its Critics." The Workshop will consider important philosophical defenses of free speech and critics of those rationales. Topics will include the idea of the "marketplace of ideas," autonomy interests in free speech, the harms of speech, and the problem of propaganda and other manipulative speech. Speakers during the year will include some or all of Susan Brison (Dartmouth), Frederick Schauer (Virginia), Robert Simpson (Monash), Seana Shiffrin (UCLA), Jason Stanley (Yale), and David Strauss (Chicago), among others. The instructors will meet with students for one hour a week before each speaker's arrival to discuss the paper (Monday, 4-5 pm). They will also meet with enrolled students for at least two two-hour sessions in Autumn to read and discuss at least Mill's On Liberty. Most of the visiting speakers will come in the Winter and Spring Quarters (roughly three per quarter). Attendance at all sessions of the Workshop is a requirement. JD students should contact bleiter@uchicago.edu with a resume and a brief statement of background and/or interest in the topic in order to secure permission to enroll. Philosophy PhD students may enroll without submitting these materials.
Autumn 2014
Martha Nussbaum, Brian Leiter
Cicero on Friendship and Aging
LAWS 52403
Two of Cicero’s most enduring works are De Amicitia (On Friendship) and De Senectute (On Old Age). We will read the entirety of both works in Latin and study their relationship to Cicero’s thought and life. Other readings in translation will include related works of Cicero and quite a few of his letters to Atticus and other friends. The first hour of each course meeting will be devoted to translation, the rest to discussion, in order to give opportunities for auditors who are reading in translation. The requirements include a midterm, a final exam, and a paper. Anyone from anywhere in the university may register if you meet the prerequisite. This is a Latin course that presupposes five quarters of Latin or the equivalent preparation. Others interested in taking it may register for an Independent Study and have different requirements, more writing and no Latin, but they will take a final exam (different).
Winter 2015
Martha Nussbaum
Global Inequality
LAWS 92403
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 class, 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, 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. Non-law students are welcome but need permission of the instructors, since space is limited.
Winter 2015
Martha Nussbaum, David A. Weisbach
Greenberg Seminar: Law and the Literature of the British Empire
LAWS 95902
This seminar will read fiction written during and about the British Empire, with a particular, though not exclusive, focus on India. Authors read will include John Buchan, H. Rider Haggard, Rabindranath Tagore, E. M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, Mulk Raj Anand, George Orwell, and J. G. Farrell. Students interested in participating should send Prof. Nussbaum a short statement giving your reasons for your interest in the seminar and telling us about your background in literature and relevant parts of history. This seminar is capped at 15. Approximately 10 seats will be allocated to J.D. students and the rest to LL.M. students. Graded Pass/Fail.
Winter 2015
Richard A. Posner, Martha Nussbaum, Dipesh Chakrabarty
Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Free Speech and Its Critics
LAWS 61512
The topic for 2014-15 will be "Free Speech and Its Critics." The Workshop will consider important philosophical defenses of free speech and critics of those rationales. Topics will include the idea of the "marketplace of ideas," autonomy interests in free speech, the harms of speech, and the problem of propaganda and other manipulative speech. Speakers during the year will include some or all of Susan Brison (Dartmouth), Frederick Schauer (Virginia), Robert Simpson (Monash), Seana Shiffrin (UCLA), Jason Stanley (Yale), and David Strauss (Chicago), among others. The instructors will meet with students for one hour a week before each speaker's arrival to discuss the paper (Monday, 4-5 pm). They will also meet with enrolled students for at least two two-hour sessions in Autumn to read and discuss at least Mill's On Liberty. Most of the visiting speakers will come in the Winter and Spring Quarters (roughly three per quarter). Attendance at all sessions of the Workshop is a requirement. JD students should contact bleiter@uchicago.edu with a resume and a brief statement of background and/or interest in the topic in order to secure permission to enroll. Philosophy PhD students may enroll without submitting these materials.
Winter 2015
Martha Nussbaum, Brian Leiter, Robert Simpson
Feminist Philosophy
LAWS 47701
The course is an introduction to the major varieties of philosophical feminism: Liberal Feminism (Mill, Wollstonecraft, Okin, Nussbaum), Radical Feminism (MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin), Difference Feminism (Gilligan, Held, Noddings), and Postmodern "Queer" Feminism (Rubin, Butler). 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. Undergraduates may enroll only with the permission of the instructor. The grade is based on an 8-hour open book take-home examination, or a final written paper if permission for the paper option is given. Class participation will occasionally be taken into account as a positive.
Spring 2015
Martha Nussbaum
Greenberg Seminar: Law and the Literature of the British Empire
LAWS 95902
This seminar will read fiction written during and about the British Empire, with a particular, though not exclusive, focus on India. Authors read will include John Buchan, H. Rider Haggard, Rabindranath Tagore, E. M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, Mulk Raj Anand, George Orwell, and J. G. Farrell. Students interested in participating should send Prof. Nussbaum a short statement giving your reasons for your interest in the seminar and telling us about your background in literature and relevant parts of history. This seminar is capped at 12. Approximately 10 seats will be allocated to J.D. students and the rest to LL.M. students. Graded Pass/Fail.
Spring 2015
Richard A. Posner, Martha Nussbaum, Dipesh Chakrabarty
Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Free Speech and Its Critics
LAWS 61512
The topic for 2014-15 will be "Free Speech and Its Critics." The Workshop will consider important philosophical defenses of free speech and critics of those rationales. Topics will include the idea of the "marketplace of ideas," autonomy interests in free speech, the harms of speech, and the problem of propaganda and other manipulative speech. Speakers during the year will include some or all of Susan Brison (Dartmouth), Frederick Schauer (Virginia), Robert Simpson (Monash), Seana Shiffrin (UCLA), Jason Stanley (Yale), and David Strauss (Chicago), among others. The instructors will meet with students for one hour a week before each speaker's arrival to discuss the paper (Monday, 4-5 pm). They will also meet with enrolled students for at least two two-hour sessions in Autumn to read and discuss at least Mill's On Liberty. Most of the visiting speakers will come in the Winter and Spring Quarters (roughly three per quarter). Attendance at all sessions of the Workshop is a requirement. JD students should contact bleiter@uchicago.edu with a resume and a brief statement of background and/or interest in the topic in order to secure permission to enroll. Philosophy PhD students may enroll without submitting these materials.
Spring 2015
Martha Nussbaum, Brian Leiter, Robert Simpson