Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

PAIR3015 Contemporary Theories of Justice

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to familiarise you with several important, but competing, theories of justice. Such theories give guidance on important questions of distributive justice (who ought to get what, when and why?), and provide, to varying degrees, grounds for the condemnation of real-world injustices. It also engages with important methodological debates about how we should theorise about justice, and what status the results of our reflection should be seen as having. On completing the module, you will be expected to have a good understanding of some important recent theories of justice, the various difficulties they face, and the contested methodological territories on which they are staked out.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A range of contemporary views on the nature and demands of justice
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assess written arguments
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Produce detailed and considered normative arguments, in written form


The module discusses the contributions contemporary political theory has made to thinking about questions of distributive justice. Indicative issues might include: - Rawls’s theory of justice - Cohen’s critique of Rawls - Nozick and right-libertarianism - Dworkin and luck egalitarianism - Left-libertarianism - Marxism and the critique of exploitation - Iris Young on oppression

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

2 hours of lectures per week. All will be recorded and posted on Blackboard. Lectures will be delivered either face to face or online only depending upon University and Public Health England Guidance at the time. Total of 24 hours of lectures (2 hours per week X 12 weeks) per module. Weekly student participation in online discussion boards. 1 hour per week delivered asynchronously. (1 hour X 12 weeks)

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

C. Farrelly (2003). An Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory. 

M. Clayton and A. Williams (Eds.). Social Justice. 

W. Kymlicka. Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction (Second Edition). 

J. Rawls (1971). A Theory of Justice Type. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Discussion board activity 25%
Research project 50%
Research proposal 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings