This course will take a deep look at some of the issues facing modern democracies from the perspectives of the law, ethics, and political philosophy. Through the lens of classic and contemporary texts in moral and political philosophy, judicial opinion, and current events, we will examine pressing questions like: How should a nation decide who gets to immigrate? What is the proper role of money in politics? Are there any justifiable limits to free speech on college campuses? What do we mean by "equality" or "justice," and why does it matter? What should we do when what is right is not the same as what is legal in a democracy? You will learn the fundamentals of ethical reasoning while debating the solutions to the most pressing problems facing modern societies.
Students will gain a familiarity with the classic texts of moral and political philosophy from Jeremy Bentham, JS Mill, Benjamin Constant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and Aristotle. You will read the writings of contemporary moral and political philosophers such as Elizabeth Anderson, Tommie Shelby, and Michael Sandel, as well as prominent economists and cultural critics. Finally, the class will read opinions from the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as state and federal courts. The goal for you is to bring all these resources to bear on contemporary challenges to democracy, like: the role of money politics, employment discrimination, free speech debates, affirmative action, and immigration.
There are no prerequisites for this course. However, you should be prepared to delve into challenging readings with a spirit of willingness, collaboration, and curiosity.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.