Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2026H1S L0101

Undergraduate Course Code: POL484H1S L0101

Topics in Political Thought I

Religion and Politics in Locke, Rousseau and Kant)


A key feature of modern political philosophy is the series of attempts by philosophers from Spinoza to Kant and Hegel to come up with a rationalized (or philosophical) version of Biblical religion. In Pascal’s terms, it is the attempt to replace “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jabob” with a “God of the philosophers.” The seminar will focus on three such attempts: Locke’s The Reasonableness of Christianity, Rousseau’s “Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar,” and Kant’s Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason.


Mark Lilla, The Stillborn God;
John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration;
John Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity;
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile;
Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason.

Format and Requirements

Seminar format: requirements include a seminar presentation, class participation, and a final paper.