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Religious arguments in the public square: An examination of religious freedom in discourse theory of law and democracy

Posted on:2010-06-05Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:The University of ChicagoCandidate:Barnett, BarbraFull Text:PDF
This dissertation explores the importance of religious freedom in contemporary democratic politics. I critically appropriate salient features of the discourse theory of Jurgen Habermas to develop an account of democratic theory grounded in communicative ethics. However, I reformulate Habermas's approach in order to account for how religious points of view can contribute to political discourse. This approach entails addressing both the positive and negative dimensions of religious freedom. I then explore how those dimensions of religious freedom can be understood in terms of the Religion Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantee the free exercise of religion while barring the establishment of religion. My analysis thus involves a reevaluation of the Supreme Court's treatment of religious freedom in light of democratic political theory.
Keywords/Search Tags:Religious freedom, Theory, Political, Religion, Democratic
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