PSCI 271 Spring 2015 Religion and the State

Cross Listed as REL214
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution begins: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What does "religion" mean in this formulation? Should "religion" be singled-out for exclusion from government? Are "religious" reasons ever legitimate reasons for laws, policies or popular political action? Should "religious" organizations be exempt from otherwise generally applicable laws? Is "religion" good or necessary for democratic societies? In this course we will respond to these and related questions through an investigation of "religion" as a concept in political theory. Particular attention will be given to the modern liberal tradition and its critics. Coverage will range from modern classics to innovative contemporary arguments. Classics may include John Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration, selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract, James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, Immanuel Kant's Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, John Stewart Mill's Three Essays On Religion, and John Dewey's A Common Faith. More recent arguments may come from John Rawls, Alasdair MacIntyre, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Martha Nussbaum, Jeffrey Stout, Winnifred Sullivan, Brian Leiter and Andrew Koppelman.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two short papers, a midterm take-home exam, and a final take-home exam
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Religion majors, those interested in being Religion majors, and Political Science majors concentrating on Political Theory
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives
Enrollment Limit: 30
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 3734
PSCI 271 - 01 (S) SEM Religion and the State Division 2: Social Studies Jeffrey I. Israel
TR 11:20 AM-12:35 PM Hopkins Hall 001 3734
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