Economic, Political and Social Ethics

lespo1321  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

Economic, Political and Social Ethics
3 credits
20.0 h + 10.0 h
Zwarthoed Danielle;
Main themes
Inevitably perhaps within economic and social debate, there is constant confusion between empirical comments, theoretical statements and value judgments. The course tries to teach students how to clarify this debate by distinguishing the various types of question, by clarifying the criteria which, for each type, should enable them to decide between competing positions, and examines how the value judgments which underlie the debate can themselves be the subject of a rigorous discussion.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 This course gives students a synthetic and critical outline of the principal contemporary approaches to economic and social ethics. In this way, and through the effective use of analytical tools with which they are provided, the course aims to help students to take a critical and informed position towards the ethical issues which arise in the broad field covered by the economic, social and political sciences.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
lectures will expound the main contemporary theories in economic, social and political ethics: utilitarianism, libertarianism, Marxism, liberal egalitarianism, the capability approach, communitarianism, feminist theories and the philosophy of Human Rights. Practical cases will focus on ethical problems pertaining to the environmental crisis, social policies, the funding of education, migratory flows. We will insist on thec way each ethical theory would argue in favour of a specific position.
Teaching methods
the first part of the course will consist of a series of lectures by the teacher, along with texts to read ahead of class. The second part aims to put in practice the knowledge acquired during the first through flipped classrooms and jigsaws. Each student is assigned to an 'expert group', and each expert group specializes in one specific theory. Expert groups are assigned readings to go deeper into their 'area of expertise'. Then, each expert group shares its expertise with other groups. Afterwards, students will work on assignments involving the application of ethical theories to practical cases. These assignments will be evaluated by their peers.
Evaluation methods
evaluation is based on (i) collaborative, written, assignments during the term (ii) a final exam including both a multiple choice questionnaire and a reflection question
Christian Arnsperger & Philippe Van Parijs, Ethique économique et sociale, Paris : La Découverte, & Syros (" Repères n°300), 2000
Will Kymlicka, Les théories de la justice : une introduction, Paris : La Découverte, 1999.
C. McKinnon, Issues in Political Theory, Oxford University Press, 2008
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [60] in Philosophy

Bachelor in Human and Social Sciences

Teacher Training Certificate (upper secondary education) - Philosophy

Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology

Master [120] in Ethics

Bachelor in Political Sciences: General

Bachelor in Economics and Management

Master [120] in Philosophy

Bachelor in Business Engineering

Minor in Sustainable Development

Minor in Management (ESPO students)