Academic Honesty

Symposium on Living Philosophers
The Work of Michael Walzer
Academic Calendar 2007–2008
Course Description
The Symposium is a yearlong seminar devoted to the work of Michael Walzer, one of the
most prominent contemporary political philosophers. In a career spanning more than fifty
years, Professor Walzer has tackled some of the most important questions of the day,
developing original conceptions of democracy, social justice, liberalism, civil society,
social criticism, nationalism, multiculturalism, just war theory, and terrorism. In the Fall
semester, we will focus on Walzer’s arguments to defend an immanent critique of social
institutions and traditions, in opposition to culturally transcendent approaches to social
theory and political philosophy. The center of our reconstruction will be Spheres of
Justice, complemented by other works in Walzer’s corpus that elucidate (complicate and
perhaps transform) his views on these issues. In the Spring semester, we will focus on
Walzer’s attempt to cope with difference and conflict within and without the borders of
the nation-state. The cornerstone of our analysis will be Just and Unjust Wars,
accompanied by Walzer’s writings on multiculturalism and Jewish political thought. The
overarching question throughout the year will be whether the two main threads in
Walzer’s thought, namely, his commitment to hermeneutics and particularity when
dealing with social justice at home and his more universalistic rights-approach when
dealing with international relations, converge in a single pattern or pull his philosophy in
opposite directions.
Course Organization
The seminar will meet (roughly) every two weeks and work under the supervision
of a local faculty team (Professors Paul Santilli, Jennifer McErlean, and Pablo
Muchnik), and an external scholar, Professor Morton Schoolman (State
University of New York). *
Alternating with seminar meetings, students will attend a Writing Lab, whose
purpose is to hone their skills for writing and reading philosophical texts, in
preparation for developing their own research project throughout the year.
Enrolment is limited to fifteen students, who are expected to produce a
substantive research paper, present its outcome in a Panel Discussion with Walzer
at the end of the year, and be active members in a community of research with
participating faculty.
Other members of the academic community are welcome to participate in the
seminar, provided they receive permission from the Program Director.
To complement the research activities in the seminar and ensure that larger
segments of the academic community get acquainted with Walzer’s thought, a
Information about Professor Morton Schooman can be found at:
Philosophy 491
Wednesdays 5-6.50 PM
Bernardine Room
Lecture Series featuring important scholars in the field will be an integral part of
the program. We have scheduled the presence of Jeremy Waldron (New York
University, Law School) and Jacob Levy (McGill University, Department of
Political Science). The topics of their lectures are designed to mirror the content
of the syllabus, allowing the community to follow the progress of the seminar
while enriching the understanding of the core participants.
In addition, Professor Michael Walzer (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
University) will join us twice, addressing participants and delivering public
These events will culminate with a Panel Discussion at the end of the year.
Philosophy 491 is a four-credit course.
Students will receive an IP grade (“In Progress”) in the Fall, which will turn
into a regular grade in the Spring when they complete their coursework.
There will be WP grade for those who drop the course.
Course Objectives
To encounter philosophy as a conversation with a living thinker, rather than as a
disembodied corpus of texts.
To gain an understanding of the main lines of Walzer’s thought and the
intellectual context within which he is working.
To offer students a curricular alternative unique among Liberal Art Colleges in
the country, which complements their training in the history of philosophy and
allows them to develop areas of specialization.
To open the classroom to the direct influence of the philosophical community at
large –represented by the lecturers, the external scholar, and Michael Walzer
To create a community of inquiry that integrates faculty and students in a
common, long-term learning project.
To experience thinking and research as cooperative undertakings.
To enhance students’ ability to write, interpret, and explain philosophical texts, by
means of a Writing Lab component.
To foster the students’ oral skills necessary for their engagement in a seminar and
participation in a public discussion.
To publicize classroom outcomes as an integral part of the curriculum.
Philosophy 491
Wednesdays 5-6.50 PM
Bernardine Room
Course Content
Fall semester
Week 1:
9/05/07 – Wed: The Social Critic. Reading: Michael Walzer, “Philosophy and
Democracy,” Political Theory, Vol. 9, No 3, 1981, pp. 379-399. Presenter: External
Scholar, Morton Schoolman.
Assignment of Primary Student Readers.
Week 2:
9/12/07 – Wed: Writing Lab with Jenny McErlean.†
Week 3:
9/19/07 – Plurality of Goods. Wed. Reading: Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice (SJ),
Preface and Chapter 1, pp. xi-xvi and 3-30. Presenter: Pablo Muchnik.
Week 4:
9/26/07 – Wed: Writing Lab with Pablo Muchnik.
Week 5:
10/03/07 – Wed: Membership and Needs. Reading: Michael Walzer, SJ, chapters 2 and
3, pp. 3-94. Presenter: Jenny McErlean.
Week 6:
10/10/07 – Wed: Writing Lab with Paul Santilli.
Week 7:
10/17/07 – Wed: Walzer visits the seminar.‡
10/18/07- Thurs: Walzer’s Public Lecture. Topic: “Beyond Humanitarian Intervention:
Human Rights in Global Society”. 4 PM, Key Auditorium (RB 202)
Week 8:
10/24/07 – Wed. Autonomy of Spheres. Reading: SJ, chapter 4 and 13, pp. 95-129, 312324. Presenter: Paul Santilli.
Week 9:
10/31/07 – Wed: Writing Lab with Jenny McErlean.
See Appendix 1 for the schedule of activities in the Writing Lab.
Information about Professor Walzer can be found at:
Philosophy 491
Wednesdays 5-6.50 PM
Bernardine Room
Week 10:
11/07/07 – Wed: Context and Distance. Reading Michael Walzer, Thick and Thin.
Moral Argument at Home and Abroad (T&T), chapters I and II, pp. 1-39. Presenter: Paul
Week 11:
11/14/07 – Wed: NO MEETING
11/15: Thursday. Jeremy Waldron’s Public Lecture, (NYU, Law School).§ Topic:
“Michael Walzer on Justice and Communal Provision.” 4 PM, Key Auditorium (RB 202)
Holiday: Thanksgiving
Week 12:
11/28/07 – Wed: The Divided Self. Reading Michael Walzer, T&T, chapter V, pp. 85105. Presenter: Morton Schoolman.
Week 13:
12/05/07—Wed: Writing Lab with faculty team.
Spring Semester
Week 14:
1/23/08 – Wed. Communitarianism. Reading: Michael Walzer, Politics and Passion,
chapters I, VI, and Appendix, pp. 1-20, 110-130. 141-164. Presenter: Morton Schoolman.
Week 15:
1/30/08 – Wed: Writing Lab with Pablo Muchnik.
Week 16:
2/06/08 – Wed: NO MEETING
Information about Professor Waldron can be found at:
Philosophy 491
Wednesdays 5-6.50 PM
Bernardine Room
2/07/08 –Thursday: Jacob Levy’s Lecture, Department of Political Theory, McGill
University (Canada)** Topic: “Michael Walzer on Political, Moral, and Cultural
Pluralism.” 4 PM, Key Auditorium (RB 202)
Week 17:
2/13/08 – Wed: Jewish Writings. Reading: Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution,
Introduction, chapter 2 and Conclusion, pp. 1-18, 41-60, 131-152; and “The Four Wars of
Israel/Palestine,” Dissent, 2002. Presenter: Paul Santilli.
Holiday: President’s Day
Week 18:
2/20/08 – Wed: Presenter: Jenny McErlean. Morality of War. Reading Michael Walzer,
Just and Unjust Wars. A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (JUW), Preface to
the Fourth Edition and Part I, pp. xi-xxiii, 3-47.
Week 19:
2/27/08 – Wed: Writing Lab: Individual meetings with supervisor.
Week 20:
3/05/08 – Wed: Theory of Aggression. Reading: JUW, Part II, chapters IV and VI, pp.
51-73 and 86-108. Presenter: Pablo Muchnik.
Week 21:
3/12/08 – Wed: Writing Lab: Individual meeting with supervisor.
Holiday: Easter Holiday/Spring Break
Week 22:
3/25/08 – Wed: International Justice. Reading: JUW, Part III, chapters 8-9 and 12, pp.
127-160 and 197-206. Presenter: Paul Santilli.
Week 23:
4/02/08 – Wed: Writing Lab: General Meeting with supervisors.
Week 24:
4/09/08 – Wed: Engaging in Politics. Reading: Michael Walzer, “Political Action: The
Problem of Dirty Hands,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1973, pp. 160**
Information about Professor Levy can be found at:
Philosophy 491
Wednesdays 5-6.50 PM
Bernardine Room
180; and “Multiculturalism and Individualism,” Dissent, 1994. Presenter: Morton
Week 25:
4/16/08 – Wed: Writing Lab: General Meeting with faculty team in preparation for the
Panel Discussion.
Week 26:
4/23/08 – Wed: Walzer’s Public Lecture. Topic: TBA. 4 PM, Key Auditorium (RB 202)
4/24/08- Thurs: Panel Discussion with Walzer. 4 PM, Key Auditorium (RB 202)
Week 27:
4/30/08 – Wed: Last Class.
Final Paper
Writing Lab
Primary Readership
Preparedness and Participation
Research Paper: students are expected to write a substantial paper (25-35 double spaced
pages) on a topic of their choice. They will work primarily with one member of the
faculty team, who will be assigned preliminarily in the Fall semester. Students are
encouraged to receive the input of at least one other member and take advantage of
his/her area of expertise in designing their projects.
 Handing in the research paper on time is a necessary condition to pass the
 As a rule of thumb, take advantage of the unusual faculty/student ratio in the
seminar, do your best in writing the first draft, and allow yourself enough time for
corrections and revisions.
Writing Lab: the writing lab component is unique among humanity courses offered at
Siena, and provides an invaluable opportunity for students to develop their skills. No one
is expected to have mastered in advance the difficulties of philosophical writing; the goal
of the lab is to prepare students for this. Faculty members will alternate leading the
meetings and offer exercises in preparation for tackling the final paper. Each exercise will
be part of the overall grade and allow us to gauge your progress.
Primary Readership: although all participants are expected to be competent in each
reading, there will be a student in charge of leading the discussions along with the faculty
presenter each meeting. The primary reader will act as an expert in the text, showing
more command than mere competency, asking questions, prodding assumptions, and
Philosophy 491
Wednesdays 5-6.50 PM
Bernardine Room
generating discussion. Critical assessment of arguments, capacity to do independent
research, and clarity in articulating the key points, are the main criteria of evaluation.
 Primary readers are encouraged to consult with members of the faculty team when
they are preparing their topics.
Preparedness and Participation: the Symposium is not a regular class. It is structured
as a seminar and will require commitment, responsiveness, and independence on your
part. Our goal is to establish a community of inquiry, in which students are not passive
recipients but partners in an ongoing philosophical dialogue. Hence they are required to
do the readings beforehand and encouraged to contribute to the seminar discussion as
much as they can. This part of the grading is meant to assess student’s overall intellectual
growth and commitment to the course. Attendance is part of class participation. More
than two unexcused absences (seminar meetings, writing labs, and public lectures) will
affect your grade.
Academic Honesty
Students are expected to adhere to Siena’s guidelines on academic integrity. There is
absolutely no tolerance for academic dishonesty. Evidence of plagiarism will entail
failing the course with more serious consequences depending on the case. If you have any
questions, do not hesitate to contact us before handing in your assignment.
Research Tools
The faculty team has procured a good number of existing papers on Walzer to
facilitate your research. Materials are available for consultation to all participants and can
be obtained through Prof. Pablo Muchnik. Make good use of these resources when
writing your projects.
For your convenience, we have also produced a package containing copies of
many of the readings assigned in the course (seminar and writing labs).
Office Hours
Students are encouraged to visit any member of the faculty team during office
hours, without any special arrangements. We are here to help you. Do come and see us
as often as you wish. If necessary, students can make appointments when their schedules
conflict with office hours. Here is our contact information:
Professor Paul Santilli: MW 1:45-2:45 p.m. Tuesday 3:00-4:00 p.m. Other times can be
arranged by appointment. Siena Hall 416. Tel. 783-2551. Email:
Professor Jennifer McErlean: Tue and Thurs 10-12.30, and by appointment. Siena Hall
414. Tel. 783-4129. Email:
Philosophy 491
Wednesdays 5-6.50 PM
Bernardine Room
Professor Pablo Muchnik: Tue: 1.30-4.30 and Thurs: 8-10 AM. Other times can be
arranged by appointment. Siena Hall 412. Telephone: 783-2352. Email:
Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice. A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, Basic Books,
------------------, Interpretation and Social Criticism, Harvard University Press, reprint
------------------, Just and Unjust Wars. A moral Argument with Historical Illustrations.
Basic Books, fourth Edition, 2006.
------------------, Politics and Passion. Toward a More Egalitarian Liberalism. Yale
University Press, 2004.
------------------, Thick and Thin. Moral Argument At Home and Abroad. University of
Notre Dame Press, 2002.
------------------, Exodus and Revolution. Basic Books, 1984.
------------------, The Company of Critics. Social Criticism and Political Commitment in
the Twentieth Century, Basic Books, 2002.
------------------, “Philosophy and Democracy,” Political Theory, Vol. 9, No 3, 1981, pp.
------------------, “Liberalism and the art of Separation,” Political Theory, Vol. 12, No. 3,
1984, pp. 315-330.
------------------, “Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands,” Philosophy and Public
Affairs, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1973, pp. 160-180
------------------, “Multiculturalism and Individualism,” Dissent, 1994.
David Miller and Michael Walzer (editors). Pluralism, Justice, and Equality. Oxford
University Press, 1995.
Jeremy Waldron, “When Justice Replaces Affection,” in Liberal Rights, Cambridge
University Press, 1993.
-------------------, “Money and “Complex Equality,” in Miller/Walzer edited volume,
Pluralism, Justice, and Equality, Oxford University Press, 1995.
John Rawls, “Justice as Fairness,” The Philosophical Review, Vol. 67, No. 2, 1958, pp.
Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism. Edited and Introduced by Amy Gutmann. Princeton
University Press, 1994.
A. P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing. An Introduction, Prentice Hall, 1989.
Appendix 1
Writing Lab Schedule
Meetings are in SH 206
Fall Semester
9/12, Week 2: McErlean
A.P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing (PW), Preface, Chap 1, Chap 2.
Michael Walzer, “Three Paths in Moral Philosophy” (ISC, Chap 1, pp. 1-32).
9/26, Week 4: Muchnik
PW, Chap 3
Rawls, “Justice as Fairness,” The Philosophical Review, Vol. 67, No. 2, 1958, pp. 164194.
2-3 page comparative essay on Rawls/Walzer
10/10, Week 6: Santilli
PW, Chap 4 (until page 52)
Michael Walzer, “In the Company of Critics”, Introduction, pp. 3-28.
------------------, “The Practice of Social Criticism” (ISC, Chap 2, pp. 35-66)
10/31, Week 9: McErlean
Jeremy Waldron, “When Justice Replaces Affection,” in Liberal Rights, Cambridge
University Press, 1993, pp?????
------------------, “Money and ‘Complex Equality,” in Miller/Walzer edited volume,
Pluralism, Justice, and Equality, Oxford University Press, 1995, pp. 144-170.
2-3 page comparative essay on Waldron/Walzer
11/28, Week 12: seminar, turn in a one-page description of the subject for your final
paper. Include the specific texts or works by Walzer you will be using.
12/05, Week 13: Faculty Team.
Refinement and general discussion of topics for papers
Turn in a description (abstract that summarizes the main arguments of the essays) of 2
secondary sources that will be used in your research and final paper.
Spring Semester
1/30, Week 15: Muchnik
Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition”, in Multiculturalism, pp. 25-73.
Walzer’s Comment to Taylor, Ibid, pp. 99-103.
One page summary, identify 2 points of agreement and 2 points of disagreement between
Taylor and Walzer
2/27, Week 19: Individual meetings with supervisor
3/5, Week 20: seminar, First Draft Due
3/12, Week 21: Faculty Team
Discussion of First Draft.
4/2, Week 23: Individual meetings with supervisor
4/9, Week 24: seminar, Final Paper Due
4/16, Week 25: Faculty Team
Preparation for panel discussion with Walzer