Politics of Judgment: Who Am I to Judge? (POL2106.01)

Crina Archer

The faculty of judgment might be thought of as the capacity to make decisions and choices in the absence of principles or procedures that dictate or generate “correct” answers. In this course we will ask what is required of “good judgment” in politics and of whom its practice should be required, with particular attention to democratic theory and practice. Is political judgment identical to moral judgment, or might these practices diverge? Does political judgment require certain conditions or training to ensure its proper exercise, or is should it be expected of all? Is it desirable, or even possible, to minimize human judgment in some arenas of public affairs—for example, by shifting the political responsibility for important decisions to experts, or to the outcome of scientific, technological, or legal procedures? To gain purchase on these broad questions, this course will provide a selected historical and conceptual review of key problems and dilemmas posed by the question “Who am I to judge?” in the canon of Western political thought, including works by Aristotle, Sophocles, Machiavelli, Locke, Kant, Habermas, and Arendt. We will ground our inquiries in contemporary political issues that raise the question of political judgment acutely, such as the role of police/prosecutorial discretion and questions of multicultural ‘toleration.’

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
M 2:10pm - 4:00pm; Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 22
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as Crina Archer, Philosophy, Politics, All courses, Four Credit, 2000, and tagged , , , , , , , .