Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the College; Associate Faculty in the Divinity School; Associate Faculty, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics; co-chair of the Human Rights Program. Daniel Brudney writes and teaches in political philosophy, philosophy and literature, bioethics and philosophy of religion. He is the author of Marx's Attempt to Leave Philosophy (Harvard, 1998).
office: Stuart Hall, 218
on leave Winter - Spring 2014
office phone: 773/702-7546
Please see my CV (PDF) for a complete list of publications.
51820. The Idea of Political Liberalism. John Rawls’s book, Political Liberalism, stakes out a remarkably original way to conceive of the goals and possibilities of political philosophy. In addition, in Political Liberalism Rawls offers an account of distributive justice that fits with his new conception of the discipline’s goals and possibilities. In the seminar we will (i) lay out and assess Rawls’s argument justifying his turn to political liberalism; (ii) lay out and assess the new version of Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness; (iii) lay out and assess at least one other political liberal view of proper distributive principles; (iv) examine how choosing between competing accounts of distributive principles is supposed to proceed in light of the constraints of political liberalism; and (v) determine whether and how far those constraints should be loosened. (I) Autumn 2013
21610/31610. Medical Ethics: Who Decides and on What Basis? (=BPRO 22610, BIOS 29313, HIPS 2911, HIST 25009/35009) PQ: Third or Fourth year standing. This course does not meet requirements for the biological science major. Decisions about medical treatment take place in the context of changing health care systems, changing ideas about rights and obligations, and among doctors and patients who have diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. By means of historical, philosophical, and medical readings, this course will examine such issues as paternalism, autonomy, the commodification of the body, and the enhancement of mental and/or physical characteristics. With J. Lantos (Biology). Spring 2011, Spring 2012.
51405. Equality and (a bit of) Fraternity. Given the current direction of the United States, it seems time to examine two concepts that have fallen out of fashion: equality and fraternity. Most of the seminar will focus on the first concept, but the final weeks will be devoted to the second. With regard to equality, we will ask such questions as, Is equality a good? What is the proper metric of equality? What, if anything, is wrong with profiting unequally from unequal abilities? Writers to be read will include (but will not be limited to) Bernard Williams, Amartya Sen, Elizabeth Anderson, Derek Parfit, G.A. Cohen and Robert Nozick. As for fraternity, this last member of the revolutionary triumvirate has rarely been studied. We will attempt to delineate its relation to such concepts as community and solidarity, and we will ask whether, in a large modern state, fraternity is among the proper aims of institutional arrangements. Winter 2012. (I)
21110/31110. Ideal Theory: Rawls and Marx. (=HMRT 21110/31110) This course will examine two important examples of ideal theory: the well-ordered society of Rawls’s justice as fairness and the “true communism” of the young Marx. The course will focus on both substance and method. What are the two writers’ pictures of the good society? What are their accounts of the rational justification of these pictures? How does each understand the role of a picture of an ideal society at a time when reality falls far short of it? (A) Winter 2011, Autumn 2011.
54909. 18th Century Moral Thought: Hutcheson, Hume, Smith. Much 18th century moral thought puts the focus on the human capacity to respond to others. This involves a metaethical claim (about the source of moral judgments), a normative claim (about the criteria for assessing conduct and character) and a claim about the range of human motivations. In this seminar we will examine three major British figures: Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith. The goal is both to get clear on their specific forms of moral sentimentalism and to see how far a plausible account of the moral life can be extracted from their texts. (I) Spring 2010.
29600. Intensive Track Seminar. PQ: Open only to students in the Intensive Track. Topics for this small, discussion-oriented seminar vary. Autumn 2010.
21404/31404. Well-Ordered Societies Open to college and grad students. This course examines several modern attempts to sketch an ideal society. Texts to be read include More, Utopia, Rousseau, On the Social Contract and Rawls, A Theory of Justice. Winter 2006.
21405/31405. Liberalisms Open to college and grad students. The course looks at three great texts in the liberal tradition: John Locke's Second Treatise of Government, J.S. Mill's On Liberty, and John Rawls's Political Liberalism. We will examine these texts both to explore the evolution of liberalism and to determine the criteria a defensible modern liberalism must satisfy. Autumn 2007.
22501. Medicine and Society: Things, Bodies, Persons Open to college students. The course explores ethically controversial topics in contemporary medicine such as abortion, the right to die, genetic enhancement, and the role of religion in medicine. The course will be team-taught by faculty from medicine and philosophy. For each topic, we will discuss current dilemmas that arise in clinical medicine, and elucidate the moral bases for different responses to the dilemmas. Winter 2006.
22601. Autonomy and Medical Paternalism. (=BIOS 29311, BPRO 22600, HIPS 21901, HIST 25102) PQ: Third- or fourth-year standing. This course is an in-depth analysis of what we mean by autonomy and how that meaning might be changed in a medical context. In particular, we focus on the potential compromises created by serious illness in a person with decision-making capacity and the peculiar transformations in the meaning of autonomy created by advance directives and substituted judgment. With J. Lantos. Winter 2010.
22601/33600. Autonomy and Medical Paternalism Open to college and grad students. The course will focus on the concepts of paternalism and autonomy, and their application to issues in clinical medical ethics. We will consider different definitions of these concepts and why one concept (paternalism) is generally thought morally suspect and the other (autonomy) morally valuable. We will examine challenges to the coherence of the claim to patient autonomy, as well as debates about the limits to patient autonomy in certain clinical contexts. We will finish by looking at one place where the claim to autonomy is currently hotly disputed, the issue of assisted suicide. (A) Daniel Brudney. Co-taught with Alison Winter and John D. Lantos. Winter 2007, Winter 2008.
24801/34801. 18th and 19th Century Philosophy of Religion Open to college and grad students. This course focuses on the 18th century philosophical challenge to rational religion, and on the most important 18th and 19th century responses to that challenge. Writers to be examined include Hume, Kant, Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard. Winter 2005. Autumn 2009.
24801/34801. 18th and 19th Century Philosophy of Religion Open to college and grad students. This course focuses on the 18th century philosophical challenge to rational religion, and on the most important 18th and 19th century responses to that challenge. Writers to be examined include Hume, Kant, Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard.(A) Autumn 2006.
29600. Junior Seminar Open to college students. Prerequisites: Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration program. Topics for this small, discussion-oriented seminar vary. Autumn 2006.
29800. Senior SeminarOpen to college students. Prerequisites: Consent of Director of Undergraduate Studies. Required of fourth-year students who are writing a senior essay. Winter 2005.
29900. B.A. Essay Preparation Open to college students. Prerequisites: PQ: Consent of B.A. adviser and director of undergraduate studies. Required of fourth-year students who are writing a senior essay. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. In consultation with their B.A. adviser, students work independently in preparation of the B.A. essay. Work is done over the course of the entire senior year; however, students register for this course in either Winter or Spring Quarter. NOTE: Students may not register for both PHIL 29800 and 29900 in the same quarter Spring 2003, Winter 2004, Spring 2005.
43300. Eighteenth- and Nineteenth- Century Phil of Religion The course will look at major 18th and 19th century philosophical discussions of religion. Writers to be read include Hume, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel and Kierkegaard. Winter 2004.
51000. Recent Work in Political Philosophy: Legitimacy Criteria for State Action Open to grad students. The seminar will attempt to determine the proper criteria of moral legitimacy to regulate action by a modern democratic state. We will examine A. John Simmons' discussion of legitimacy, Rawls's principle of political legitimacy (along with related standards such as Scanlon's contractualism), and finish by looking at several specific legitimacy issues, for instance, the moral constraints on the beliefs the state may promote via public education and the moral constraints on the content of speech by state agents. In looking at these issues, we will read both philosophical texts and recent legal decisions. Winter 2003.
51801. Evil Open to grad students. The seminar will look at Kant on evil, as well as at the "problem of evil" as it is to be understood both before and after Auschwitz. We will also examine several examples of evil in works of literature. Autumn 2005.
51810. Well-Ordered Societies: Rousseau and Rawls Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor. The course will examine the concept of a well-ordered society, the specific forms it takes in the work of Rousseau and Rawls, and the most important criticisms of the two writers' social ideals. Spring 2005.
51815. Themes in Recent Political Philosophy: Recognition & Respect
Open to grad students. Over the last few decades, "recognition" has been a buzzword in political philosophy. Everyone, it seems, demands recognition. Yet it is far from clear what this amounts to. Is it a psychological state, and if so, whose psychological state? Or is it perhaps an institutional state of affairs? Moreover, why, precisely, is recognition so important? Does it soothe the soul? Satisfy a basic moral entitlement? Recognition is sometimes said to be connected to "respect." But how? And is that what makes it crucial? In this seminar, we examine central texts from the recognition debates to determine what is at stake and whether what is at stake is in fact of great importance. Spring 2007.
51400. Political Philosophy: Locke and Rousseau. The seminar looks closely at Locke's Second Treatise of Government, and "A Letter Concerning Toleration," and at Rousseau's First and Second Discourses and On the Social Contract. Selections from other works (e.g., Locke's The Reasonableness of Christianity, Rousseau's Emile and The Government of Poland) may also be read.
Liberalism: Political and Otherwise. PQ: Permission of instructor. The course looks at recent proponents and opponents of -- as well as alternatives to -- what Rawls calls "political liberalism." Rawls claims that political liberalism is more restricted in its scope than"comprehensive liberalism," and that this more restricted liberalism is appropriate to a pluralist democracy. We clarify and assess both the moral basis of this claim and the specific content of the relevant restrictions, and then look at some recent non-political liberals. Writers to be read include Rawls himself, Joseph Raz, Ronald Dworkin, Charles Taylor, Joshua Cohen and Gerald Cohen.
51000. Recent Work in Political Philosophy Open to grad students. Full title: "Recent Work in Political Philosophy: Legitimacy Criteria for State Action" The seminar will attempt to determine the proper criteria of moral legitimacy to regulate action by a modern democratic state. We will examine A. John Simmons' discussion of legitimacy, Rawls's principle of political legitimacy (along with related standards such as Scanlon's contractualism), and finish by looking at several specific legitimacy issues, for instance, the moral constraints on the beliefs the state may promote via public education and the moral constraints on the content of speech by state agents. In looking at these issues, we will read both philosophical texts and recent legal decisions. Winter 2003.