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Global Ethics

Course Code: PUBLG081

Course Tutor: Dr Avia Pasternak (Department of Political Science)

Assessment: One 3,000 word essay

Credit Value: 15

About this course

This course critically examines some of the most pressing ethical questions (questions concerning what we ought morally to do) arising in the contemporary international arena. For example: Should rich countries open their borders to the global poor? Should we send military intervention to distant countries in order to prevent atrocities? Should the world be organized along globally democratic lines? Who should pay for climate change? The course will introduce students to recent global justice and political theory literature on these and related questions, focusing on four broad issues:

1) Key approaches to global ethics including realism, cosmopolitanism and statism.

2) Borders and political units concerning how the world should be organized politically.

3) The Justification of Political Violence concerning entitlements to the use of force at the international arena.

4) Climate change justice concerning our duties with respect to the effects of climate change.

Course aims

This is a course in political theory. It aims to familiarize students with the contemporary literature on global ethics, and to enable them to engage in sophisticated normative debates about important matters of international concern.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students will:

  • have a clear grasp of the contemporary philosophical literature on the main ethical dilemmas arising in the international arena;
  • be able to construct sustained normative arguments about issues such as global poverty, humanitarian intervention, climate change, global democracy etc., and be able to defend them against opposing arguments and perspectives;
  • be able to make links between theoretical ideas and empirical information in areas of global ethical concern.

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School of Public Policy,
The Rubin Building,
29/31 Tavistock Square,
London, WC1H 9QU.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4999,
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 4969,

Postgraduate enquiries

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4982/4950

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Page last modified on 03 sep 13 17:00

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