Gotham Philosophical Society
May 5, 2016

Religion in Democratic Politics

View the video of this event here.

What role should religious conviction play in democratic policy-making?  Features of modern democratic societies intersect to render this question both essential and problematic.  Government policy in a democracy is supposed to reflect the will of the citizens, and in those societies citizens are free to practice any religion that they choose. So why shouldn’t democratic laws be based on, say, the moral teachings of the Bible, if the majority of the citizens desire it?  Well, modern citizens often disagree about religion, both in terms of its truth and its relevance.  Does this fact of religious disagreement mean that each citizen should avoid voting on the basis of their own religious conviction, or would that make modern democracy objectionably secular, inconsistent with the religious freedom a democratic society  is supposed to secure?  In this talk, Robert Talisse explores these questions and defends the view that, indeed, religious citizens have a moral duty to avoid voting on the basis of their religious conviction, but that this constraint is not inconsistent with freedom of religion.

RBT_ferry

Thursday, June 9 at 6pm. This event is part of the Philosophy Series at The Cornelia Street Café, located at 29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014 (near Sixth Avenue and West 4th St.). Admission is $9, which includes the price of one drink. Reservations are recommended (212. 989.9319)

Robert B.Talisse is Jones Professor of Philosophy and Chairperson of the Philosophy Department at Vanderbilt University.  He specializes in political philosophy, democratic theory, and ethics.  He is the author of many scholarly essays and several books, including Democracy and Moral Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and, most recently, Engaging Political Philosophy (Routledge, 2016).  Talisse earned his PhD in Philosophy in 2001 from the City University of New York.

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