Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2003


Course syllabus for POLS 863 Seminar in American Institutions and Values

Course description: This course addresses the moral dimension of discretionary choices made by public managers. The course considers how moral questions - choices among values - apply to concrete decisions of public authorities.

The primary objective of the course is to train students in serious moral analysis. This requires the attainment of skill methods of thinking and writing (logic and rhetoric). The instructor will assume that the way the student writes is the way he or she thinks. Therefore more than half of the student's grade for the course will depend upon how well he or she writes.

U.S. Supreme Court opinions on the core values of the American Republic of freedom, property, and equality are studied for examples of how broad, value-laden concepts can have practical meaning as guides to the resolution of actual problems that administrators may face. These opinions will serve as examples both of the content of values AND of methods of analysis, exposition, and argumentation.