Political Science | Regulating Morality
Y396 | 20648 | Robinson


Intensive Writing credit; for majors only

This course considers whether, and under what conditions, governments
can effectively regulate morality.  Since the European settling of
North America, there have been laws prohibiting certain kinds of
consensual sexual relations.  Americans attempted to stop people from
drinking alcohol through the 18th Amendment, and to stop immorality
through the Mann Act.  Here and elsewhere, moral and ethical issues
including abortion, euthanasia, and censorship are all politically
contentious and judicially significant.. Morality remains a divisive
political issue not only here in the US, but in many other countries
as well.

In this senior seminar,  we will consider what political and ethical
philosophers, religious and political leaders, and jurists have said
about morality, ethics and governance.  We will examine empirical
cases including prohibition, abortion, sexuality education, assisted
suicide, same-sex marriage, and censorship. Students will be expected
to do all readings, attend the once-weekly seminar class, engage in
serious discussion, and write and present a lengthy and original
research-based paper on a case study or philosophical position.
Ascribing to the expectations of intensive writing seminars, the
paper will be divided into sections and revised throughout the
semester.