PHIL 160 - Moral Principles and Problems
Section: 001
Term: WN 2009
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Lecture Description: This course introduces students to principles of moral philosophy, and provides them with an opportunity to apply what they learn to the ethical questions we face in life. The overarching goal is to give students the conceptual resources they need to think about difficult and controversial ethical issues in a systematic and critical way. The lecture portion of the course will provide a systematic introduction to moral theory, aimed at equipping students with the concepts and tools needed to analyze moral problems and develop their own moral positions. The primary focus will be normative ethics, that is, philosophical theories about the nature and principles of moral rightness and wrongness. The dominant active traditions in normative ethics — natural rights theory, social contract theory, and consequentialism — will be given extensive treatment, though we will also discuss egoism, divine command theories, virtue theories, and moral particularism. Some topics from meta-ethics will also be discussed, in particular relativism, subjectivism vs. objectivism, non-cognitivism vs. realism, and the relation of morality to rationality. Throughout an effort will be made to tie questions in ethics to empirical issues in psychology, social and political theory, and anthropology, as well as questions in decision theory and game theory. Each discussion section will focus on a distinct area of applied ethics of contemporary concern. Discussion section leaders will seek both to ensure that students understand and can apply the contents of the lectures, and to introduce them to additional material — empirical, normative, and conceptual — that pertains to the section’s special topic.

Intended audience: Freshmen and Sophomores from all academic areas.

Course Requirements: Approximately 35 pages of required reading weekly, with quizzes and short writing assignments to test for comprehension. To ensure learning through discussion, attendance will be required.

Class Format: 2 hours/week lecture format; 2 hours/week discussions led by GSIs.

Individual Disscussion Topics by Section:

Discussion Sections by led Alexa Forrester (002 & 008): Everyday Ethics — This section will focus on the ethical implications of everyday practices. We will concentrate on articulating what is involved in the ethically ideal life and the ethically ideal society, and will evaluate our own lives and society in light of these ideals. Specific topics will include the legitimate scope of free markets; the ethics of food production, distribution, and diet; and the ethics of group differences.

Discussion Sections by led Sven Nyholm (003 & 009): Ethics and Human Nature — These sections will focus on questions about human nature and ethics. Is there a human nature? Is there one such nature, or do we differ by gender, race, ethnicity, etc.? Is human nature needed for ethics, or does it make ethics impossible? Is there a meaning to human life? How do humans differ from animals, and what ethical implications does this have? If we can now change human nature, should we?

Discussion Sections led by Stephen Campbell (004 & 005): Topics investigated may include: doctor/patient relationships; informed consent and confidentiality, withholding/withdrawing life support; euthanasia; genetic manipulation; experimentation on human and animal subjects; mental illness; the ethical problem of allocating scarce medical resources; duties to care for indigent and risky patients; and justice and health care.

PHIL 160 - Moral Principles and Problems
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
28336
Open
8
 
-
MW 9:00AM - 10:00AM
002 (DIS)
P
28337
Closed
0
 
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
003 (DIS)
P
28338
Open
3
 
-
MW 2:00PM - 3:00PM
004 (DIS)
P
28339
Closed
0
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:00PM
005 (DIS)
P
28340
Open
2
 
-
TuTh 3:00PM - 4:00PM
008 (DIS)
P
28823
Open
3
 
-
MW 11:00AM - 12:00PM
009 (DIS)
P
28824
Closed
0
 
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:00AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 0534573843
Metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics : historical and contemporary readings, Author: [edited by] James Fieser., Publisher: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning 2000
Required
ISBN: 9780073125473
The elements of moral philosophy, Author: James Rachels., Publisher: McGraw-Hill 5th, [rev. 2006
Optional
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