Skip to Content

Paul DeHart

Office:  UAC 343
Phone:  512.245.3281

Curriculum Vitae

B.A., Houghton College
M.A., University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

 Paul R. DeHart is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas State University, where he has taught since 2009. Prior to that, he taught at Lee University in Cleveland Tennessee from 2005-2009. He has also taught at the University of Texas at Austin and at Texas Lutheran. Dr. DeHart holds a B.A. in political science and philosophy (with a minor in classical, vocal performance) from Houghton College. He graduated summa cum laude and with major honors in political science in 1998. After Houghton, he commenced doctoral work in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. There he studied political philosophy, American institutions and processes, and public law. He holds an MA (2000) and a Ph.D. (2005) from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2006, DeHart published his first article (“The Dangerous Life: Natural Justice and the Rightful Subversion of the State” in the journal Polity. In 2007, he published his first book, Uncovering the Constitution’s Moral Design, with the University of Missouri Press. According to Amherst political theorist, Hadley Arkes, “The remarkable achievement of this [book] is that the case DeHart makes for the moral telos of the Constitution has been made now in a way that must be utterly compelling to anyone who has not closed his mind entirely to the canons of reason. This is a rare and remarkable achievement. I know of nothing else that does the work this well.” DeHart received a Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2008 for a project entitled “Covenantal Realism: Political Obligation after the Fall of Conventional Social Contract Theory.” That research contributed to three subsequent articles—“Covenantal Realism: The Self-Referential Incoherency of Conventional Social Contract Theory and the Necessity of Consent,” Perspectives on Political Science (2012); “Fractured Foundations: The Contradiction between Locke’s Ontology and His Moral Philosophy,” Locke Studies (2012); and “Leviathan Leashed: On the Incoherence of Absolute Sovereign Power,” Critical Review (2013)—and a book chapter, “Reason and Will in Natural Law,” which appeared in anthology published by Lexington Books. Most recently, DeHart is editor (with Carson Holloway) of Political Philosophy and the Claims of Faith (Northern Illinois University Press, forthcoming Winter 2014). He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Covenantal Realism: Natural Law, Covenant, and the Foundations of Political Authority. Dr. DeHart teaches several upper division, undergraduate courses as well as MA courses—mostly on American political thought, the American founding, the roots (or foundations) of American constitutionalism, and social contract theory. He also teaches courses on the Supreme Court and the judicial process (which also covers jurisprudence and philosophy of law) and constitutional law. He is married to Robyn DeHart, an award-winning author of several historical romance novels published by Avon/HarperCollins, Grand Central Publishing, New American Library, and Entangled. And he is the father of two beautiful daughters.

Courses Taught

POSI 3305 The American Founding
An examination of the origins, nature, and foundations of the American Constitutional system with special emphasis on the Federalist/Anti-federalist debates and the writing of the constitution.

POSI 3310 Constitutional Law: Basic Structures and Principles
A case study approach to an analysis of fundamental principles of governmental structure with an emphasis on the office and powers of the President and inter-governmental relationships in the main body (Articles I through VII) of the U.S. Constitution.

POSI 3331 American Political Thought
The development of American political ideas from the colonial period to the present. (WI)

POSI 4311 The Supreme Court and the Judicial Process
An intensive examination of the judiciary, focusing upon the politics of judicial selection and the decision-making process of the judiciary as well as the position of the judiciary in the entire political process. (WI)

POSI 4399 Senior Seminar in Political Science
Seminar devoted to intensive reading, research, writing, and discussion focusing on different sub-fields in the discipline taught by appropriate faculty. (WI)

HON 3394P Nature and the Natural in the Early Modern World: Intro to Humanities II
A Study of the idea of nature and the natural in significant texts of the Enlightenment and Romantic movements, when Western society was poised on the brink of modernity and the concept of human beings' relation to the world was transformed because of advances in empirical science, philosophy, and psychology.

PS 5302C The Contractarians
This course is an examination of the social contract, consent, and popular sovereignty in early modern thought. Attention will be given to the work of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant (as well others) and to their critics both then and now.

PS 5312 Roots of American Constitutionalism
An examination of the origins and evolution of the ideas which inform the American constitutional system, includes examination of the strands of thought in the classical, Christian, medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods that combined with the British liberal tradition, laid the groundwork for the American experiment. Examines the Pre-Independence evolution of the American Constitutional tradition that informed the constitutional debates.

PS 5313 Justice and Liberty in American Thought
This course will examine the concepts of justice and liberty in American thought from the seventeenth century to the present. Attention will be given both to the nature of liberty and justice and to their practical requirement as understood by various American thinkers, including statesmen, reformers, social scientists, and philosophers.

PS 5341 Seminar in Constitutional Law and Theory
In-depth analysis of selected issues in constitutional theory including the theory of judicial review, and constitutional interpretation. Examines the debate on constitutional interpretation in light of cases dealing with the First Amendment Freedom of Speech, Press, and Religion, and with substantive due process and the equal protection clause.