PHIL 6310: Contemporary Problems in Political Philosophy

Course Description: American politics has devolved into polarized extremes, made no better by last year’s divisive election. The aim of this seminar is to critically evaluate some of the most contentious issues facing us, as well as to try to charitably construct—as opposed to caricature—arguments from across the political spectrum. The methodology will be broadly interdisciplinary, drawing from sources in philosophy, political science, and law. The first unit is theoretical, trying to understand the differences between liberalism and conservatism, as well as different approaches to judicial interpretation. The second unit looks at issues in voting, gerrymandering, and campaign finance.   The third unit considers the First Amendment, specifically religious tolerance, religious liberty, and hate speech. The final unit engages patriotism, nationalism, immigration, and the Second Amendment.

Course Syllabus (Fall 2017)