PHIL 355 - Contemporary Moral Problems
Fall 2020, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Details

Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
HU, RE
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 455.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Description

The global world has too many moral problems, not too few. The second half of the twentieth century articulated the great and noble game of humanitarianism, a system based in commitment to universal conceptions of human rights inherited from the Enlightenment. This system of Charters and Covenants signed by the members of the United Nations, non-governmental agencies, aid workers, governmental interventions and peace-keeping forces, along with significant philanthropic commitment from the Gates Foundation etc. has become all too dysfunctional, its universalist commitment to human rights challenged by all manner of nation states and cultural practices in the name of diversity, religion, identity and sovereignty. Globalization is now understood as a driver not merely of opportunity but of new forms of inequality, turning certain regions of the world into low wage production sites for the centers of concentrated capital in Europe, America and parts of Asia, abandoning longstanding markets for new and cheaper ones, producing global insecurity and joblessness. The genuineness of moral culture, its capacity for honesty, is under threat. On the other hand, the world has never had a deeper experience of cosmopolitanism, the sharing of cultural and moral values, the fusion of diverse forms into new art and literature, the vast expansion of information and partnerships across distances thanks to new technologies. Nor a more evolved concept, or set of concepts, of human rights, however contested some or all of these may be. These social issues cannot be solved by philosophy (or any other academic or public discipline), but philosophy can play a significant role in their straight and honest articulation, and in drawing on its significant moral legacies in seeking ways to make the problems more tractable. This course will focus on the evolution of human rights from the writings of John Locke and the democratic revolutions of the Eighteenth-century, which, thanks to Europe and America's embroilment in empire (colonialism) and nationalism (the formation of the modern nation state, simultaneously arose with the articulation of the concept of race, almost inevitably from a hierarchical/racist standpoint. This long history eventually led to the Nazi atrocities of the Second World War and the birth of humanitarianism as a result. We will read a wide body of moral writing, politics, writing on globalization and on terror, and we will also rely extensively in class on the use of media (film, news clips, You Tube, documentaries) in order to follow this long history, and the humanitarian culture which followed.

Course Requirements:

Assignments will be submitted to the GSIs via their Canvas sites. Assignments will consist of three papers, two of three pages and one of six pages. Each on topics assigned by the graduate instructors and due at the discretion of the GSI. One of the first two may be rewritten by the final class period for regrading. There will be no exams.

Intended Audience:

All components of the course will be online.

Class Format:

Lectures will be posted asynchronously in Canvas. Discussion sections 002 & 003 will be held asynchronously. the rest will be held at the times posted in the course guide.

Schedule

PHIL 355 - Contemporary Moral Problems
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 Online
29701
Open
60
 
-
M 4:00PM - 6:00PM
002 (DIS)
 Online
29702
Closed
0
 
-
F 9:00AM - 11:00AM
003 (DIS)
 Online
29703
Closed
0
 
-
W 2:00PM - 4:00PM
004 (DIS)
 Online
29704
Closed
0
 
-
F 9:00AM - 11:00AM
005 (DIS)
 Online
29705
Closed
0
 
-
W 2:00PM - 4:00PM
006 (DIS)
 Online
33363
Open
2
 
-
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:00PM
007 (DIS)
 Online
33364
Closed
0
 
-
TuTh 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)