The Great Separation: Politics, Religion, and the Modern West|
Spring 2010 not offered
This course investigates the relationship between the idea of moral autonomy and modern political thought from the closing of the Middle Ages to the end of the Enlightenment. We begin by surveying the decline and resurgence of theologically-motivated political doctrines from the 17th century to the present. Then, in a close reading of important primary texts, we will ask to what extent the emergence of a modern concept of the morally autonomous rational individual was indebted to the assertion of an all-powerful state that could enforce laws and preserve order and property without recourse to religious authority. Finally, we will ask whether the Western experience can serve as the normative basis for other cultures and societies, or whether the return of the divine to political discourse threatens the "fragile exception" of secular political philosophy.
Reading & Writing
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Primary Readings include: Dante, Luther, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant
Secondary Readings include: Mark Lilla, THE STILLBORN GOD.
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