Political Philosophy: Rights and Obligations

Ref: C2344486

The question of what government does or does not have the right to do has had a higher public profile over the last few months than for some time, and there have been more conversations about the obligations each citizen has (or does not have). The course provides a 'map' of different, often conflicting, available philosophical answers to these questions. The course will cover : definitions of the state, government, and society; the pluralist state – from the state as referee in society to the corporatist state; the state as organized class interest (Marxist analysis);domination by the state and anarchist critiques of the state); libertarian analyses and the case for the minimalist state; the state as guarantor or facilitator of certain public goods (civil liberties, the rule of law, social and economic opportunities etc); the state as the organizational form of society : idealist theories of the state (especially Hegel); the nation state; the totalitarian state.

Course aim

to introduce students to a range of philosophical ideas about what rights and obligations the state, or government, and citizens should each have, from liberal democracy to totalitarianism

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • define ‘state’, ‘government’ and ‘civil society’
  • explain what a pluralist state seeks to do and how
  • give reasons anarchism and/or Marxism is/are critical of the state
  • list and explain at least 2 arguments for and against the state as guarantor of public goods, giving examples of such goods
  • describe the relationship between the state and society in the nation state and/or a totalitarian state

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Your tutor will provide written, text and audio feedback recorded in WEA Canvas, WEA’s digital learning platform.
  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • useful starting points : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_(polity) https://www.slideshare.net/MirsadiqSadiqzade/heywood-politics-and-the-state

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/

Download full course information sheet

Political Philosophy: Rights and Obligations

Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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