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Course Details

Fall 2016-2017
POL 480 / CHV 480 (EM)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Perfectionism and the Legal Enforcement of Morals

James E. Fleming

What is the appropriate scope of the legal enforcement of morals? Was Justice Scalia right that protecting rights of gays and lesbians to sexual intimacy and to marry "effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation"? What are the best grounds for justifying rights in circumstances of moral disagreement? May government promote civic virtues and public values that conflict with religious liberty? Does protecting rights preclude government from encouraging their responsible exercise? We will examine such issues in contemporary controversies over the right to marry, religious liberty, reproductive freedom, and the right to bear arms.

Sample reading list:
Stephen Macedo, Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy and the Future
Ronald Dworkin, Life's Dominion: An Argument About Abortion
James E. Fleming and Linda C. McClain, Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues
Fleming, Barber, Macedo and McClain, Gay Rights and the Constitution

Reading/Writing assignments:
Approximately 100-150 pages of reading per week. Two short papers (5 pages each; 40% of grade). One longer paper (10 pages; 30% of grade).

Requirements/Grading:
Papers - 40%
Term Paper(s) - 30%
Class/Precept Participation - 30%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.

Other information:
In addition, students are required to write three short papers (2-3 pages each) reacting to the readings for a given week (to strengthen participation and see what issues are of interest). These papers will not be graded, but will be taken into account when evaluating participation in the course.

Reserved Seats:
Open to POL Concentrators Only 5
VPL Certificate Students Only 5

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
23183 S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm Th   Chancellor Green   103   Enrolled:9 Limit:15