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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Karen Emmerman Mazner
PHIL 345
Seattle Campus

Moral Issues of Life and Death

Examination of such topics as war and murder, famine relief, capital punishment, high-risk technologies, abortion, suicide, and the rights of future generations.

Class description

In this course, we will begin with a brief introduction to the principles of philosophical thinking and the basic features of dominant moral theories. This introduction will enable students with no philosophical background to gain familiarity with philosophical methods generally and moral theory in particular. For those who have prior exposure to philosophy the introduction will serve as a helpful review. With the basics of philosophical thinking and moral deliberation in hand, we will turn to considering the pressing moral problems that we encounter over the course of our lives. In any human life we face moral decisions about how to live, what to eat, and how best to care for dying loved ones. For this course we will address our moral obligations to non-human animals, to humans at the margins of life (fetuses and dying individuals), and to distant others. We will end the course by focusing on the question of how to balance the desire to live a good life against the desire to live a moral life. TEXTS: "How to be Good", Nick Hornby; "Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology", Stephen M. Cahn.

Student learning goals

1. Strengthen critical thinking skills.

2. Development of the ability to express oneself through writing.

3. Reading texts carefully with an eye not only to mastery of the material but critical engagement with the arguments and thoughts expressed by the author.

General method of instruction

Classes are a mixture of lecture, discussion, and low-stakes writing. We will also occasionally break into small discussion groups.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 01/02/2013