Faculty Profiles

Seana Shiffrin

Seana Shiffrin

Professor of Philosophy
Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice
B.A. UC Berkeley, 1988
B. Phil. Oxford, 1990
D. Phil Oxford, 1993
J.D. Harvard, 1996
UCLA Faculty Since 1992

LAW 561A/B - The Cutting Edge of Legal Scholarship: New Books on Constitutional Law and Legal Theory

We will read four new books on theoretical and practical issues concerning equality, a fundamental concept in our legal system.  All the works we will read will be published in 2017 or forthcoming.   

In the fall, we will begin with Jeremy Waldron’s forthcoming book On Another’s Equals: The Basis for Equality.  The book attempts to ground the judgment that all humans are moral equals and to explain that truth in light of our evident differences as individuals, while also interpreting how our moral status relates to that of animals.  We will then turn to an analysis of the implications of equality for economic distribution, labor policy, and democracy, by reading Elizabeth Anderson’s new book Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It). In the spring, we will read Catherine MacKinnon’s new collection, Butterfly Politics, advancing a feminist interpretation of equality and its implications for the legal system. We will end the course with a more in-depth examination of Thomas Scanlon’s Why Does Inequality Matter?, culminating in a discussion with Tim Scanlon, the author.

Although we ask students to read the entire book, about two weeks before each session, we will identify about 3-4 chapters (approximately 100-200 pages) on which discussion will focus.  Students will be asked to submit two developed questions or comments to an on-line discussion board the week before each session.

Copies of the book will be made available on reserve in the library and electronic copies on a password-protected course website.

Reading List with Dates and Times

Meeting #1 (October 11) Jeremy Waldron, On Another’s Equals: The Basis for Equality (Harvard University Press, 2017)

Meeting #2  (November 8) Elizabeth Anderson, Private Government,(Princeton University Press, 2017)

Meeting #3  (January 31)  Catherine MacKinnon, Butterfly Politics (Harvard University Press, 2017).

Meeting #4  (February 28) Thomas Scanlon, Why Does Inequality Matter? (Harvard University Press, 2017)

Meeting #5  (April 11)  Scanlon, continued (with the author, Tim Scanlon, present)

The Santa Monica location is easily accessible by bus from UCLA and also by car.  At the relevant hour, plan for 35-45 minutes for transport.  The Westwood location is a 5-10 minute drive depending on traffic and a 35 minute brisk walk.

Food will be vegetarian and often vegan.  Let us know if you have special dietary restrictions.