Spring 2018


Spring 2014
Subject Area: 
Course Number: 
PHIL 002 601
Tuesday 6:00pm-9:00pm


Secondary Program: 
Young Scholars Program
Course Description: 

This survey course is a comprehensive introduction to applied ethics, the practical branch of contemporary moral philosophy.  Applied ethics moves beyond general theories and concepts to offer a disciplined analysis and evaluation of the important moral problems that arise in the context of everyday personal, professional, family and community life. The course beings with a basic survey of three major ethical theories:  virtue ethics, deontology and utilitarianism. We will continue to discuss these and additional approaches to moral reasoning--such as egoism, emotivism, relativism, religious ethics, natural law and feminist ethics--throughout the semester. The main part of the course examines how contemporary philosophers have treated specific ethical issues raised by a wide variety of human enterprises. We will focus on a different topic each week. We expect to cover the following areas:  (i) euthanasia; (ii) abortion; (iii) animals; (iv) family and reproductive technology; (v) sexuality; (vi) paternalism and risk; (vii) free speech; (ix) sexual and racial discrimination; (x) affirmative action; (xi) punishment; (xii) economic justice; (xiii) world hunger; (xiv) environment and (xv) war and terrorism. The course textbook is Ethics in Practice, ed. Hugh LaFollette (Blackwell Publishing, 3rd ed. 2007). The instructors will supplement the text with additional readings as appropriate. There will be two short-answer objective tests. Students will be required to write one analytical midterm paper (4-5 pp.) and one analytical final paper (6-7 pp.) on assigned topics. The instructors strongly encourage class participation, so final grades may also take into account students' contributions to class discussion.