Political Philosophy

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This advanced course will focus on central topics in political philosophy such as social justice, global justice, human rights, liberty and liberalism, the politics of identity, the role of the state, the value of democracy, politics and power, or political obligation and disobedience. The aim of the course is to provide a deep knowledge and understanding of debates concerning issues of relevance to contemporary political life.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the student should have

  • An overview of some central themes and debates in political philosophy
  • A familiarity with key scholarly literature related to these themes and debates
  • An understanding of concepts and arguments relevant to these themes and debates
  • An understanding of how these themes and debates connect to each other and to current political issues


After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • Describe key concepts, positions, theories, and traditions in political philosophy
  • Recognize the role these concepts, positions, theories, and traditions play in scholarly debates in political philosophy
  • Reconstruct and evaluate arguments advanced in scholarly literature in support of different positions or theories in political philosophy
  • Recognize implications of political philosophy for political practice
  • Reflect on, and form well-reasoned judgements about themes and debates in political philosophy
  • Communicate understanding and ideas related to the course content both orally and in writing


After completing the course, the student should be competent to

  • Participate in scholarly debates in political philosophy
  • Contribute philosophical insights to public debates about current political issues.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Recommended Previous Knowledge
Approved first semester studies. Specialized study courses presuppose good background knowledge in philosophy, and students should normally have finished their exams in all 100-level cumpolsary courses. 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
FIL249 overlaps 10 credits with FIL116 and FIL349.
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.

Students will have the option to participate in group supervision of the semester assignment. Over the course of the semester, there will be various opportunities for students to receive feedback on smaller formative assignments from the instructor and/or their peers.

If fewer than four students are registered, the number of lectures/seminars may be reduced. The students will be offered individual or group teaching.

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

    A semester assignment of 3000-5000 words. The semester assignment can consist of one or two essays, as set by the instructor. The topic(s) of the essay(s) must be approved by the instructor. The semester assignment paper will be assessed at the end of the semester.

    Exams in the course are held every semester.

    The compulsory activities have to be formally approved before one can take an exam in the course.

    Grading Scale
    From A to F
    Assessment Semester
    Course Evaluation
    The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.
    Programme Committee
    Department of Philosophy
    Course Coordinator
    Department of Philosophy
    Course Administrator
    Department of Philosophy
    Department of Philosophy