The London Philosophy Course

From time to time the Royal Institute runs a free philosophy course for subscribers to the Institute’s journals.  The courses last ten weeks and are either introductions to philosophy or more advanced courses taking a closer look at a particular subject in detail.


We hope to run a new series of courses in October -- we'll call for expressions of interest here in due course.

Moral and Political Philosophy

The Winter 2019 Course on the subject of moral and political philosophy was taken by  Dr. Nadine Elzein, a lecturer at University College Oxford, who has previously held posts at King’s College London, Southampton, Wadham College Oxford, and University College London. Here is the course overview.


Over the course of ten weeks, the class examined some core ideas about the nature of morality, our motivations for complying with moral demands, and the place of values within the world. 


Provisional topics

1)  Egoism & Altruism (Hobbes, Hume, Williams, Nagel).

2)  Moral motivation (Hume, Kant, Pritchard, Williams).

3)  Mackie’s challenge to objectivism and objectivist responses (Mackie, McDowell, Nagel).

4)  Subjectivism & Non-Cognitivism (Hume, Ayer, Stevenson).

5)  Moral responsibility (Frankfurt, FIscher, Pereboom, Kane).

6)  Social contract theory: Actual and hypothetical (Locke, Rousseau, Rawls).

7) Political obligation and tacit consent (Locke, Hume, Dworkin, Simmons).

8) Positive and negative freedom (Berlin, Taylor, Cohen).

9) Property rights, distribution and end-state vs. historical entitlement (Locke, Nozick, Rawls, Otsuka)

10) Equality & luck (Dworkin, Cohen, Anderson, Sen).