PHIL 160 - Moral Principles and Problems
Section: 001
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

How are we to come to grips with the moral questions we encounter in our lives? Doing so requires understanding as well as motivation, and moral philosophy is an area of inquiry dedicated to promoting such understanding. Moral philosophers seek to develop the concepts and principles needed to understand the nature and the origin of our fundamental values, how (if at all) these values might be justified, and what implications they have for how we should live our lives — as individuals and as a society. The lecture portion of this course provides a systematic introduction to the concepts and principles of moral philosophy, and also to the dominant traditions in Western moral thought. The discussion sections will each have a sustained focus on a particular domain of contemporary moral concern. The overarching goal of the lecture and sections, taken together, is to give students the resources they need to analyze difficult and controversial moral issues, to think about these issues in clear and critical ways, and to challenge and to develop their own moral views. Throughout, an effort will be made to tie theoretical questions to the actual questions we face in daily life, and to draw upon insights about morality arising from research done in other disciplines, such as psychology, social and political theory, anthropology, and decision theory and game theory.

Intended audience: 1st Year Students and Sophomores from all academic areas.

Course Requirements: All students must be enrolled in both the lecture and in one discussion section. There will be weekly reading in connection with both the lecture and the discussion section. Required assignments will include a mid-term and a final examination on the lecture material, and also various quizzes, short writing assignments, or other class exercises linked to the individual discussion sections.

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

Individual Discussion Topics by Section:

Discussion Sections led by Alex Plakias (002 & 003): This class will focus on a range of ethical issues that we face in everyday life. Three main topics covered will be the ethics of food (is it wrong to use animals for food? what kind of food policy should we adopt?) the ethics of sexuality (is homosexuality immoral? should the state recognize gay marriage?) and questions of moral status (do we have moral obligations to animals? to ecosystems? to robots or other forms of artificial intelligence?). Examining these and related questions will help us better understand some of the issues raised in lecture and apply them to questions we face every day.

Discussion Sections led by Jason Konek (004 & 005): In lecture, Professor Railton will provide a systematic introduction to ethical theory. In section, we'll explore the lecture material and apply it to a selection of ethical issues that arise in medical contexts and from the application of biotechnology to plants and animals.

Discussion Sections led by David Wiens (008 & 009): This section explores different applications of moral philosophy to international affairs. Our investigation will be guided by the following questions. What obligations do we have to those who live beyond our country's borders? How do these obligations limit our attempts to promote our own interests? Topics may include: international trade; foreign aid; immigration; terrorism; military intervention; interstate war; secession and self-determination; immigration; climate change; and global public health.

PHIL 160 - Moral Principles and Problems
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
41895
Open
30
 
-
MW 9:00AM - 10:00AM
002 (DIS)
P
41897
Open
2
 
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
003 (DIS)
P
41899
Open
9
 
-
MW 2:00PM - 3:00PM
004 (DIS)
P
41901
Open
2
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:00PM
005 (DIS)
P
41903
Open
7
 
-
TuTh 3:00PM - 4:00PM
008 (DIS)
P
42539
Open
1
 
-
MW 11:00AM - 12:00PM
009 (DIS)
P
42541
Open
9
 
-
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: 9780073386713
The elements of moral philosophy : James Rachels ; sixth ed. by Stuart Rachels., Author: James Rachels., Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education 6th ed. 2010
Optional
Other Textbook Editions OK.
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