PHIL 355 - Contemporary Moral Problems
Winter 2015, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 455.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


Some people have it all—fame, fortune, power, a clean rap sheet, a positive group identity, good looks, good health, good credit, good neighborhoods, good job prospects, and a good education. Other people have none of these things. We live in a deeply unequal society of haves and have-nots. Is there anything morally wrong with inequality?

To answer this challenging question we will consult philosophy as well as anthropology, economics, history, law, psychology, political science, and sociology. These disciplines shed light on crucial issues: What causes inequality? Is it evolution, past injustice, prejudice, poor choices, government policy, or dumb luck? Do beliefs about inequality and its causes vary by race, gender, class, religion, level of education, and political ideology? Will liberals say that inequality is caused by prejudice and conservatives say that it is caused by poor choices? Who is responsible for addressing inequality? Is it the haves, the have-nots, or both? How should we resolve the conflict between mitigating inequality and respecting individual rights? Should we legislate against pornography and hate speech, which foster unequal social relations, or should we allow both to uphold the right to freedom of expression?

In addition, the course will be fun, engaging, and focused on an urgent moral problem of interest to taxpayers, voters, politicians, activists, and everyday people.

Course Requirements:

It will also appeal to students with interdisciplinary interests seeking to develop their critical thinking and writing skills in two short papers, two essay exams, and through regular class participation and exercises.

Intended Audience:

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Class Format:

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PHIL 355 - Contemporary Moral Problems
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:00AM
002 (DIS)
 In Person
MW 11:00AM - 12:00PM
003 (DIS)
 In Person
MW 12:00PM - 1:00PM
004 (DIS)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
005 (DIS)
 In Person
MW 3:00PM - 4:00PM

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