Course Justice, Law and Capitalism - Law 673A
Instructor Simone M. Sepe
Coteachers: Thomas Christiano
Units 3 (Graded)

No Prequisites, but it is recommended that students have taken or are taking Contracts and Constitutional Law.

Recommended Courses:  

In the first part of the course we will study the relationship between distributive justice and private law.  In particular we will discuss whether the state is (ever) justified in forcibly redistributing wealth from one individual or group to another.

 In the second part of the course we will study issues of distributive justice and ethical issues concerning corporate social responsibility.  Among the most fundamental issues to be addressed in corporate social responsibility policy and law are questions of justice.  For example, are corporations required to maximize the shareholder interest only (shareholder model) or to take into account also the interest of other stakeholders (stakeholder model)? Should corporations provide public goods? Can corporations invest money to publicize social, political, and religious values?  To what extent corporate law should care about human rights, especially when corporations outsource part of the production?

Tentative Schedule

Distributive Justice

Distributive Justice and Rawls

January 20: Background session for Samuel Freeman

January 27: Speaker: Samuel Freeman (Philosophy, University of Pennsylvannia)

Distributive Justice and the Law

February 3:  Background session for Daniel Markovitz

February 10:  Speaker: Daniel Markovitz (Yale Law School)

Justice and the Theory of the Second Best

February 17:  Background session for Richard Markovitz

February 24:  Speaker: Richard Markovitz (University of Texas, Austin Law School)

Corporate Responsibility and Justice

March 3:  Background session for Martijn Cremers

March 10:  Speaker: Martijn Cremers (University of Notre Dame Law School)

March 17: Spring Break

March 24:  Background session for Phillip Pettit

March 31:  Speaker: Phillip Pettit (Politics and Philosophy, Princeton University)

April 7:  Background session for Wayne Norman

April 14:  Speaker: Wayne Norman (Philosophy, Duke University)

April 21:  Student paper discussions

April 28:  Student paper discussions
Students will meet on Tuesdays - times TBA


A list of the materials will be provided before the beginning of the semester.

Course Format

The format of the course will involve three main elements.  The central element will be the presentations of invited speakers on issues of the course and open discussion of the work of the speaker (which will have been read in advance by the group).  The week before these presentations, the sessions will be designed to provide background for the study of the issues and a framework within which the issues make sense.  It will consist of two parts: first, introductory lectures by Professors Christiano and Sepe that provide background and a framework for students to understand the issues; and second, open seminar style discussion of the issues in the background readings.

Written Assignments

Students are required to write (i) brief comments (1-2 page reaction paper) on articles presented in class by the invited speakers; and (ii) one essay (12-15 page paper).

Type of Exam

Class participation: 20%

Brief written comments: 35%

Short essay and presentation: 45%

Basis for grading  
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