POLS 451

POLS 451 will be about religion and politics.  The first third of the course will look at the history of debates about religious toleration in Europe.  The second third of the course will be about the attempt of recent liberal theorists such as John Rawls and Charles Larmore to “apply toleration to philosophy itself” and so develop a “political liberalism,” based on the demand for public justification; the exercise of political power is justified only if justifiable to every member of society, which means reasonably acceptable by each without anyone having to give up the religious, philosophical or ethical doctrine they (reasonably) espouse.  The last part of the course will involve debates about this idea of public reason or public justification in the context of specific policy debates, such as abortion and same-sex marriage.  If you have any questions about the course, please let me know.