I am an empirical political scientist attempting to explain with quantitative data how the world works. Through use of the scientific method, empirical political science keeps values at arm’s length, seeing the normative as a source of bias in the process. However, through a minimal amount of exposure in other work and through a NEH summer seminar, I see numerous advantages to becoming familiar with a portion of the enormous body of work in normative political philosophy. The most significant motivation is that I have thought for years now that empirical religion and politics work has been missing an overarching structure that I suspect political philosophy might help supply. Second, as the editor of the Cambridge journal Politics & Religion, I am frequently called on to judge work in religion and political philosophy, which I’m not qualified to do (and hence I rely extra heavily on reviewers). Third, I hope to enrich my forthcoming textbook in religion and politics with relevant political philosophy, to help present a more comprehensive portrait of academic debate connecting philosophical and empirical work. With this grant, I would set aside a portion of the summer to read intensively in political philosophy, purchase a number of canonical and current books in relevant philosophy, and attend the Western Political Science Association meeting, targeting panels in their program section covering political philosophy.