PSCI 271
Religion and the State Fall 2018
Division II
Cross-listed REL 214 / PSCI 271
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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.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 30
Expected: 25
Class#: 1378
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two short papers, a midterm take-home exam, and a final take-home exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Religion majors, those interested in being Religion majors, and Political Science majors concentrating on Political Theory
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 214 Division II PSCI 271 Division II
Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives

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