HFIK03726U FILO, Module 3: Political Activism and Deliberative Democracy

Volume 2016/2017

Master in Philosophy, 2014-curriculum


Political activism is an important component of political participation. It can take the form of civil disobedience, boycotts, blockades, sit-ins, or interruptions of a political debate. Examples include Henry David Thoreau’s refusal to pay taxes that in his view financed an illegitimate war, Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man and, more recently, anti-abortion trespass demonstrations, to name a few. This course engages students with conceptual analyses of different types of political activism such as conscientious objection and civil disobedience as well as discussions of their moral justification.

During the course, we also examine the relationship between political activism and democracy: the question of whether political activism can be justified as a legitimate form of political participation in a deliberative democracy. On the one hand some forms of political activism, e.g. civil disobedience, seem to diverge from the ideal norms of a deliberative democracy where citizens ought to engage in open dialogue with one another and be ready to revise their political views. On the other hand, political activism could be a means of remedying the shortcomings of deliberative decision-making procedures in real democracies.

During the course we will be reading the work of philosophers such as Joseph Raz, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Kimberley Brownlee, David Estlund and Iris Marion Young.

Learning Outcome

The Master’s Programme in Philosophy 2014:
Module 3, Classical Philosophical Problem: HFIK03721E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic 1: HFIK03741E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic 2: HFIK03751E


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 367,5
  • Total
  • 409,5