College Of Arts And Sciences | The Moral Basis of Politics
H204 | 0014 | Failer

Is there a moral basis to politics?  If so, what is it?  In this course, we
will try to figure out the connection between morality and politics by
focussing on four central questions:  1)Why obey the law?  2)  What makes
government legitimate?  3)  Which morality binds political actors?  4)  Why
disobey the law?  In answering each question, we will move back and forth
between two kinds of sources.  First, we will look at some great works in
political philosophy and literature in order to see how great minds have
grappled with these same problems.  Second, we will look at the real
political problems these questions raise.  Throughout the course, students
will have the opportunity to evaluate how well the canonical ideas help us
come to terms with some basic political problems.  They will also have the
chance to see how real political problems shape our thinking about
fundamental issues in political philosophy.  The requirements for this class
include thinking and reading, four (one-page) reaction papers, two short
essays and one longer essay.