Religious Studies | Religion & Social Criticism
R661 | 3807 | Smith


A selective introduction to several different ways of relating religious metaphors, principles, and conceptions of the good life to
questions of ethics and social policy.  The overarching issue is the tension between religious particularity or specificity, on the
one hand, and general applicability, public argument and social pluralism, on the other.  Most religious writers considered will be
Christian; I am particularly interested in religious views that are intellectually sophisticated and in particular in the
theological "school" of H.R. Niebuhr.  Subjects to be discussed range from basic questions of method in ethics through issues in
normative ethics and problematics in the teaching of ethics. On the normative level we will consider several issues but give
particular attention to some questions of medical ethics.  Writers to be read include (but are not limited to) H.R. Niebuhr, Paul
Ramsey, Sallie McFague, Michael Perry, James F. Childress, Gilbert Meilaender and William F. May.  This is the Track I seminar.
Requirements will be six short papers, due at intervals, and a final examination given at the time designated in the schedule of
classes.  Students will have ample opportunity to choose the topics of their short papers and for focused work on the final.  Meets
with R761.