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Global Justice: The Ethics of Climate Change and War

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

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Course Description

Should the United Nations and World Bank be reformed? How should states cooperate to address global warming? This is the second part of a two-part course introducing students to the most important ethical debates about global politics. The course strongly appeals to students who are interested in ethics, political philosophy, public policy, and international relations. Students will benefit the most from taking both parts, but can opt to enroll in them separately.

Part B covers issues of global institutions, the environment, and conflict. As states cooperate more closely to solve the largest ethical issues of our time, international organizations have grown more powerful. How can we ensure that they will also be accountable, legitimate, and fair? How can the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund be made more democratic and responsive to the concerns of ordinary people? We will examine these questions through the lens of the environment and climate change.

We will then turn to the justice or injustice of war in international politics. Is it right or wrong to use drone warfare? Is humanitarian intervention morally justified to stop genocide or other crimes against humanity? Should states seek the authorization of the United Nations before going to war, or should they be able to decide on their own to go to war?

By the end of the course, students should develop:
• A deeper understanding of the most important debates in global justice, as an introduction to further work in this field.
• The ability to analyze arguments from political philosophy, taken from journal articles, scholarly books, and public policy case studies.
• The skills to present a fair, informed, reasoned, and confident position in both written and verbal assignments. These written assignments include position papers and a final course paper. The verbal assignments comprise presentations on the readings at the beginning of class, and debates between sections during class.

To learn the most in the course, students are recommended to follow the international news in the New York Times in the months leading up to the summer. A helpful book to read is One World by the Princeton philosopher Peter Singer.

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