Please address the prompt below in a short essay of 600-750 words. I will evaluate your essay according to how well it (1) addresses the prompt (make sure you have carefully read the question and address all parts), (2) incorporates various readings from the course, (3) demonstrates an understanding of essential course concepts, and (4) critically engages with these concepts to present a formidable argument in response to the prompt. Although grammar and writing style will not be formally evaluated, well organized and clearly stated ideas always make the strongest argument. Matthew Woessnerâ€™s â€œA Guide to Essay Exams (Links to an external site.)â€ offers some useful advice. You can review the rubric I will use to evaluate your essay on this assignment.
Be sure to utilize the course readings from the second module in your response and to include parenthetical citations whenever appropriate (i.e., any time you are summarizing, re-phrasing, or quoting from one of the readings). You may use whatever citation style you choose, but be consistent. If you are citing reading assigned in our course, you need not include a separate bibliography or works cited page. You may, but are not required, to use additional sources. If you use any additional sources, you must cite those as well and include a works cited/bibliography.
Enlightenment thoughtâ€”specifically the emphasis on reason as the primary authority and importance of individual libertyâ€”is widely understood as the foundation of modern Western democracy. Drawing on the readings and our discussions of Kant, Mill, and Dewey explain how these ideas shape perspectives on the public sphere and the role of the public in democracy. In your response, consider the relevance of reason in expectations of the public sphere, the relationship or role of the individual in the public, and the function of the public or public sphere in democracy. To conclude, provide your own assessment, supported by evidence from the readings and class discussions, about the proper role of the public in our democracy and how best to cultivate such a public.