David M. Nixon
Philosophical consideration of some of the main moral problems of modern society and civilization, such as abortion, euthanasia, war, and capital punishment. Topics vary.
The main goal of the course is to improve your ability to participate in and to critically evaluate moral arguments. We do this by carefully analyzing some of the reasons that have been given or that might be given to support philosophically interesting positions on the issues of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, affirmative action, gay rights and same-sex marriages, world hunger and over-population. (If there is time and students are interested in other issues, we may be able to do more than this. If we run out of time, we'll do less.) Because we focus our attention on some particularly difficult moral issues, it would be unrealistic to expect us to resolve definitively the issues that we address. The goal of the course is rather to clarify the various moral positions that might be taken on these issues and, especially, to clarify the reasons that one might have for accepting or rejecting those positions. If the course is a success, you will acquire a greater understanding of moral reasoning; a greater appreciation for moral reasoning: an enhanced ability to defend your moral views with reasons; and an enhanced ability to recognize the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the moral positions of those you disagree with. We will also be interested in the issues concerning the position of moral relativism, and whether respect for the practices of other cultures and individuals implies that moral relativism is true. TEXT: No Textbook Required. E-Reserve Materials.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading