Benjamin V. Hole
Philosophical consideration of some of the main moral problems of modern society and civilization, such as abortion, euthanasia, war, and capital punishment. Topics vary.
This is a course in applied ethics. We connect various contemporary issues with ethical theory, in order to better understand the nature of moral disputes. While there are many such issues, we concentrate on topics concerning sexual ethics, biomedical ethics, international ethics, and social/political ethics. Philosophers approach specific moral issues by making use of theories and applying them to the real world. So, we begin the course with an introduction to ethical theory and the philosophical study of contemporary moral issues. Next, we read articles to investigate how ethical theory is applied to support views on these issues. The aim is to help you to understand the arguments put forward by defenders of these views and, by examining them, to refine your own understanding. Class sessions consist primarily of lectures and discussion activities. This is a writing intensive course. In addition to a final examination and paper, there are weekly writing assignments and daily quizzes.
There are two main objectives: (1) to familiarize you with the ethical theory and controversies surrounding certain contemporary moral issues, thus helping you develop reasoned views on these (and related) issues, and (2) to help you sharpen your ability to think clearly and critically about such issues. In order to meet these course objectives, you must learn certain philosophical skills in the following areas:
a) Interpretation and Analysis: be able to analyze, interpret, and understand philosophical texts and discourse. b) Argumentation: be able to effectively identify, evaluate, and formulate arguments. c) Philosophical Knowledge and Methodology: be able to demonstrate a high degree of fluency with the major traditions, figures, concepts, and methods of philosophy. d) Communication: be able to develop, organize, and express ideas in a precise, clear, effective, and systematic manner in writing and discussion.
TEXTS: "Disputed Moral Issues: A Reader", Mark Timmons, ed.2; and Turning Technology Clickers.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading