GOV 379S • Political Absurdity in Theory and Practice - H - W
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
Contains a substantial writing component and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing. Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary.
Both common sense and the philosophical theory of absurdity give strong grounds for finding some aspects of Unites States policy on personal firearms and on addictive drugs absurd, even grotesquely absurd. The seminar will begin with philosophical readins and discussions to establish the absurdities in question, setting aside the practical prospects of eliminating them or even reducing them. Then it will turn to considering what entrenches the absurdities and what allow, even promotes, their increase. Finally it will ask, what can be done to reduce or eliminate them, and how far can highlighting the absurdities in accordance with philosophical findings play a part in doing so?
Readings will include: Bergson on laughter Selections from Camus Ted Cohen's "Jokes" Michael Massing "The Fix" Marc Mauer "The Race to Incarcerate" Philliip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig "Gun Violence" Josh Sugarman "Every Handgun is Aimed At You"