CoursesDemocracy and Disagreement
PSCI 3991 - 302

Democracy and Disagreement

When and how can we justify using the power of the government to force our fellow citizens to follow rules with which they disagree?

Tuesdays/Thursdays, 1:45 PM – 3:15 PM

In attempting to answer this question, we will pay special attention to (1) the various different types and sources of political disagreement and (2) the role of deliberation and reason-giving in a democracy. Through reading and debating works of contemporary political theory and philosophy, this course should help you to reflect on some fundamental but easily neglected questions about your own civic attitudes and behavior. What beliefs underpin your political commitments, why do you hold those beliefs, and why do other people see things differently? What makes you so sure that you’re right and they’re wrong? How, if at all, should you try to change their minds? When, if ever, should you refrain from supporting legal prohibition of actions that you feel sure are morally wrong?

Students will be expected to contribute substantively and thoughtfully to class discussions [25% of grade], prepare and deliver one 10-min oral presentation [15%], and write at least three short (4-5 page) papers, [60%; three best papers each count for 20%].

Other Courses of Interest

EDUC 2500

Nature RX

Instructor(s)

  • Elizabeth Mackenzie

Semester

Fall 2022

This course is designed to introduce students to an emerging field, one that explores the connections between nature and human health. A growing body of literature suggests that exposure to natural settings supports human health in a variety of ways. The healing powers of nature appear to be demonstrable scientifically, with research studies spanning various aspects of social, mental, and physical health. The course also invites students to consider the ways in which humans can contribute to the healing of ecosystems. Contemplative practices (e.g., meditation, journaling) will be woven throughout. The course will be linked to the Nature Rx@Penn Program, with opportunities for active and experiential learning.

Learn More
ENGL 2145

Failure to Communicate

Instructor(s)

  • Carlin Romano

Semester

Fall 2022

The phrase “failure to communicate” became iconic in American English from the 1967 film “Cool Hand Luke,” in which Paul Newman played a convict who refuses to listen or follow orders. The film raised questions about the multiple ways we understand “failure to communicate” and its consequences. Is it sometimes a decision to resist a presumption, a premise, an interpretation, an argument, a directive from authority? Is it at other times simply a mechanical failure?

Learn More