Workshop in Law, Philosophy & Political Theory (Spring 2018)

Workshop in Law, Philosophy & Political Theory (Spring 2018)

Kadish Workshop in Law, Philosophy, & Political Theory

Cross-listed as: Law 210.2, Philosophy 290-2, and Political Science 211

Fridays 12:00-3:00pm

Boalt 141


  1. Undergraduates interested in taking this course for credit should email Niko Kolodny ( with a list of courses taken in law, philosophy, or politics. Since we need to save spots for graduate students, undergraduates may need to wait until the spring semester begins for a final decision on whether they may enroll.
  2. There is reading for our first meeting on Jan. 19.  Please see the schedule below.
  3. To join the bCourse site (for readings and announcements) please email Niko Kolodny (


Prof. Joshua Cohen                 

Prof. Niko Kolodny


Course description:

This course is a workshop for discussing work-in-progress in moral, political, and legal theory by invited scholars. The central aim is to enable students to engage directly with philosophers, political theorists, and legal scholars working on normative questions. Another aim is to create a space that brings together people from different disciplines and perspectives—including economists, sociologists, and political scientists as well as journalists—who have strong normative interests or who speak to issues philosophers and theorists should know something about. This semester our theme of “democracy.”


The format of the course will be as follows. For the sessions with guest presenters, lunch will be served starting at 12:00. We’ll begin at 12:15. A designated commentator will lead off with a 15-minute comment on the paper. The presenter will have 5-10 minutes to respond and then we will open up the discussion to the group. The first part of the course will be open to non-enrolled students, faculty, and visitors who wish to participate in the workshop discussion. We’ll stop for a break at 1:45 and those not enrolled in the course will leave. Enrolled students will continue the discussion with the guest from 2:00 to 3:00.



Introductory meeting, only for students enrolled or interested in enrolling. Please read the following and come prepared to discuss them:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract, Bk. 1, chaps. 5–8; Bk 2, chaps. 1–6; Bk. 3, chaps. 1, 12–17; Bk. 4, chaps. 1–3. Complete text (in a different translation).

Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, chap. 21 (but skim or skip from p. 262, after “He becomes a primitive again,” to the end of chapter) and chap. 22 (but skim or skip sections 2 and 3).


Charles Beitz, “How is Partisan Gerrymandering Unfair?” (Paper no longer linked.)
Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics
Princeton University

Emilee Chapman, "Challenges in Promoting Democratic Partisanship"
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Stanford University

Richard Brooks, "Calling Forth: Creating and Maintaining Constitutive Distinctions through Spoken Address"
Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law
Columbia University

Josiah Ober, selections from Demopolis
Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor, Political Science and Classics
Stanford University

Alex Guerrero, "The Epistemic and Metaphysical Roles of Voting: Addressing the Dual-Role Dilemma" ABSTRACT
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Rutgers University

Paul Pierson, "Goodbye to Pluralism? Studying Power in Contemporary American Politics"
John Gross Endowed Chair, Professor of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley


3/9: NO SESSION this week.  Bertrall Ross's talk moved to 4/27.

Gabriel Lenz, "The Importance of Knowing ‘What Goes With What’: Reinterpreting the Evidence on Policy Attitude Stability" (with Sean Freeder and Shad Turney) (on the question of whether citizens have meaningful views on public policy)
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley

Alvin Goldman, "Democracy and Free Speech: How Should the Twain Meet?"
Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science
Rutgers University

Daniel Viehoff, "Power and Equality" (ABSTRACT)
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
New York University

George Borjas, "What Does Immigration Economics Imply about Immigration Policy?"
Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Meena Krishnamurthy, "White Blindness"
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Michigan

Bertrall Ross, "Addressing Inequality in the Age of Citizens United"
Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley

Final paper due


Course requirements:

  1. Three response papers. You may select the workshop papers you wish to write about. Each response paper should be no more than 500 words long. Instead of summarizing the paper, please raise one or a few specific criticisms. Submit your paper by noon on the day before the workshop session (i.e. midday Thursday) via the "Assignments" tab on bCourses.
  2. 15-20 page final paper on a topic of your choosing. Your final paper should engage with ideas from at least one of the workshop papers discussed during the semester.
  3. Participation in workshop discussions. We strongly encourage everyone to participate constructively in class discussion. Aim for high quality rather than high quantity and remember that constructive participation includes knowing when to let others have the opportunity to participate.


Optional comment and presentation:

Up to 12 enrolled students have the option to prepare and present a 15-minute comment on one of the workshop papers. Comments should be no longer than 15 minutes. You should provide a 5-7 minute summary of the paper, including identifying the problem(s) addressed in the paper and situating it in a broader debate, and then raise 2-3 specific criticisms and/or questions for discussion.


J.D. Writing Requirement:

If you are a JD student and wish to fulfill the JD Writing Requirement through this course, please speak with Niko.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due