UCLouvain & Université St Louis
Academic Year 2017-2018, 2nd semester
Philippe Van Parijs
Political philosophy has traditionally focused on the nation-state, in particular on how its collective decisions should be taken to qualify as democratic, and on how its institutions should be designed to count as just. More recently, political philosophy has resolutely expanded its focus: it started asking, for example, whether global governance should be a macroscopic replica of domestic government, and whether global justice is to be conceived as inter-national justice or as social justice writ large.
But what about this intermediate entity of an unprecedented nature that is now called the European Union? What can be said about it from a normative point of view? What are the principles that should determine how much power its institutions are to be given, how these should be designed, and what the scope and content of their policies should be? In the light of these principles, is the very existence of the European Union a good thing? Should its geographical scope increase or decrease? Should its powers be expanded or shrunk? And what policies should it most urgently develop?
These questions will be addressed through a set of carefully prepared dialogues with prominent European personalities.
The course will consist of
an introductory and a concluding session that will address explicitly these questions (for all students taking the course for credit);
a sequence of four dialogues with prominent European personalities answering questions prepared by the students (these meeting are open to a limited number of personally invited guests);
a sequence of meetings that will prepare these dialogues on the basis of the philosophical literature on the subject and of documents by and about the European personalities invited
Salle du Conseil, 4th floor, Université St Louis, 43 Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, Brussels
Monday 05/02/18 18h-21h Introduction
Monday 19/02/18 18h-21h Preparation Magnette
Monday 26/02/18 18h-21h Preparation Grabbe
Monday 05/03/18 18h-20h Dialogue with Paul Magnette, mayor of Charleroi, professor at the ULB, ex-minister-president of Wallonia
Monday 12/03/18 18h-21h : Preparation van Daele
Monday 19/03/18 18h-21h : Preparation van Middelaar
Monday 26/03/18 18h-20h : Dialogue with Heather Grabbe, director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, ex-senior advisor to the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, ex-director of the Centre for European Reform
Monday 16/04/18 18h-20h : Dialogue with Frans van Daele, ex- permanent representative of Belgium to the EU, ex-chief of cabinet of the president of the European Council and of the King
Monday 23/04/18 18h-20h : Dialogue with Luuk van Middelaar, professor at UCLouvain and Leiden, ex-speech writer of the president of the European Council
Monday 30/04/18 18h-21h Conclusion
Master 120 students are expected to participate in all meetings, Master 60 students in half of them. (Details to be discussed at the introductory meeting.)
All students will need to write an essay (about 5000 words) related to at least one of the dialogues and send it by 10 June to firstname.lastname@example.org. Their proposal for a topic (5-10 lines) should be sent no later than 25 April to the same address. This essay will be the object of an individual oral discussion during the exam session.
The assessment will be based on the essay (preferably written in English), its oral discussion and participation in class.
• By way of general background: Ph. Van Parijs, “Just Europe”, Max Weber lecture, EUI, Florence, November 2018.
• Writings by the four invited European personalities will be made available in due course.
• An extensive bibliography on “political philosophy and the EU” will be provided separately.