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Undergraduate course

Introduction to Contemporary Political Philosophy

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeFIL116
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageNorwegian or English
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Political philosophy involves the analysis and evaluation of political institutions, practices, and ideals. This introductory course focuses on literature from the second half of the 20th century onwards, and covers topics that are of relevance to contemporary political life, for example: justice in the distribution of wealth, equality of opportunity, just taxation, the limits of individual freedom, gender equality, racial equality, the rights of cultural minorities, the value of democracy, and the extent of political obligation.

Learning Outcomes


After completing this course, students should have:

- A general overview of key themes, debates, thinkers, and texts in contemporary political philosophy

- An understanding of how these themes, debates, thinkers, and texts connect to each other and to current political issues.


After completing this course, students should be able to:

- Describe key concepts and theories in contemporary political philosophy

- Recognize different ways in which these concepts are understood and employed, and recognize similarities and differences among these theories

- Recognize practical and theoretical implications of understanding and employing these concepts in different ways, and recognize practical and theoretical implications of these theories

- Reconstruct and evaluate arguments in support of different understandings of uses of these concepts, and in support of different theories in contemporary political philosophy

- Apply concepts and theories in contemporary political philosophy to debates about current political issues

- Communicate understanding, evaluation, and application of concepts and theories in writing.


After completing the course, the student should be competent to

- Reflect on, and form well-reasoned judgements about debates in contemporary political philosophy and current political issues

- Study political philosophy at a more advanced level.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Approved first semester studies. A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap


Access to the Course

The course is open to students admitted at the University of Bergen

Teaching and learning methods

Students will spend approximately 20 hours in class over the course of the semester, and approximately 10 hours per week outside of class working on course-related tasks. Class time will involve lectures or presentations by the instructor, discussions, and group work.

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • Attendance in class sessions is required. Students may not miss more than 6 hours of scheduled class time (3 class sessions) without a valid and documented excuse.
  • Students must complete at least 5 formative assignments (around 500 words each). Deadlines are set by the department.

Forms of Assessment

Home exam (4 days)

Grading Scale

From A to F

Course Evaluation

The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.

Contact Information

Department of Philosophy

Email: studierettleiar@fof.uib.no">studierettleiar@fof.uib.no