Capitalism, Free Markets, and Private Property: what do philosophers think?
Time: 17:30 - 19:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HP205
Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
What is the course about?
Property, ownership, capitalism, and the free market seem to be essential pillars of our society, but to what extent are they the product of history and the ruling classes? This course is a lively introduction to these important concepts. We start by exploring the ideas, before distinguishing the way that historians and philosophers look at the origins of property. We look at two justifications – Lockean and Hegelian – before considering the Marxist critique of capitalism and Hayek’s defence of the free market.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• What is property? What is ownership? How do capitalism and the free market differ?
• What are the origins of property? Do philosophers approach it differently to historians?
• How did Locke justify property? Does Nozick provide a credible update?
• What did Hegel say about property? Does it have lessons for us today?
• Why did Marx critique capitalism? Should we distinguish Marx and Marxists?
• How did Hayek justify the free market? Was he right?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Define property, ownership, capitalism, and the free market
• Distinguish the way philosophers and historians understand the origins of property
• Explain how Locke justified property and how it informed writers such as Nozick
• Understand Hegel’s argument for property and apply it to our world
• Evaluate the Marxist critique of capitalism
• Consider the pros/cons of Hayek’s arguments for the free market.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and no prior knowledge is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Each class is broken down into bite-sized explorations of key topics, introduced by the tutor and followed by class discussion; in addition, the tutor introduces the session and sums up at the end to make sure you fully understand the important points. You will be provided with an introductory reading list, but this is designed to enhance your study and, while we encourage you to read up each week, you can follow, enjoy, and contribute to the discussion without doing so.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Please have a pen and notebook ready if you wish to make notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
See City Lit's website for full details of upcoming philosophy courses.
Justin is Lecturer in Politics at Brasenose College, Oxford. He also teaches at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford and the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. He is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University. He holds postgraduate degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, and London.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.