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J Bradley Mchose
PHIL 407
Seattle Campus

International Justice

Examines issues through investigation of the moral foundations of international politics. Issues include: What moral duties constrain the relationships between states? Is international poverty a matter of moral concern? Are we justified in preferring the interest of our fellow nations? Prerequisite: one course in philosophy.

Class description

More than a billion people live in poverty and, on average, more than 2,000 people die of poverty-related causes each hour. In response, many aid organizations are doing a tremendous amount of good for persons living in poverty and could, with more funds, do more good. Peter Singer argues that, in these circumstances, reasonably well off persons are morally obligated to contribute to efforts to alleviate poverty since such persons can, by making a fairly modest sacrifice, do a far greater amount of good for persons living in poverty. But many aid efforts go to waste and/or have bad unintended consequences. Moreover, the effects of individual contributions to aid efforts are generally very diffuse and hard to track. Finally, we have a very poor understanding of the extent to which persons are morally permitted to favor themselves over strangers. Against this background, we will try to make progress on the pressing but exceedingly difficult question of whether reasonably well off persons are morally obligated to contribute to efforts to alleviate poverty, and if so to what extent. TEXT: "The Life You Can Save", Peter Singer.

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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: 02/19/2014