Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - JP Politische Philosophie und Umweltethik

HS Political Ontology: State, Law, and Gender

Three topics form the subject of this seminar: the state, the law, and gender. Usually, these topics are investigated in separate areas of philosophy. Political philosophers examine what the state is, legal philosophers what the law is, and social philosophers what gender is. This seminar, in contrast, aims to bring the three topics together in order to recognize what is common between them and what insights that are derived by investigating one topic could be transferred to another. Much speaks in favor of investigating the state, the law, and gender together in this way. First, each of these topics concerns a social entity. States, laws, and genders furnish our shared social world. Second, each of these social entities is constructed. A theory of each of them includes an account of how this entity exists. Providing such an account is particularly urgent because, third, each of these social entities plays a significant normative role. Not only form these entities the ontology on which arguments in moral and philosophy draw, furthermore attached to these entities are certain permissions, obligations, and expectations.

This seminar will consist of three parts. One part will be on the state, one on laws, and one on gender and sexual orientation. We will approach each of these topics by reading and discussing recent literature, mostly consisting of journal papers. The literature will be in English. Even though there are no formal admissions requirements, prior knowledge in any of the following will be beneficial: social ontology, meta-ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of law, and political philosophy.