PHIL 170 001 – Social Ethics & Political Thought

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Instructor: Cole Mitchell. This course meets Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 8:00 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. in Caldwell 105.

We will explore various questions in social ethics and political philosophy via an examination of historical texts and contemporary debates. The authors read include: Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Mill. The contemporary debates include: abortion, euthanasia, prison reform, the death penalty, torture, banning the burqa. The grand philosophical questions considered include: Is there an overall best form of government? If so, which is it? What is justice? What separates a just government from an unjust government? What may a government force its citizens to do? May a government regulate the ‘private’ realms of family and religion? What may a government do to those living outside its borders? Under what conditions is resistance to the government (violent or nonviolent) legitimate? Is government even legitimate in the first place?

This course satisfies the PH general education requirement.

Cole Mitchell’s webpage