PHIL 89.002 – FYS: Special Topics

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Instructor: Jeff Sebo. This course meets TR 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. in PH 222.

Ethics and Speech

This course is an introduction to moral and political philosophy with special focus on speech. We will start with a survey of moral and political philosophy. Is morality more a matter of promoting happiness, respecting rights, or cultivating virtue, and is justice more a matter of equality, liberty, or community? We will then consider a variety of practical questions concerning speech including: What is the difference between education, manipulation, and propaganda? How should we morally and politically evaluate offensive speech, and what role if any should identity, privilege, and oppression play in these evaluations? Finally, what limits if any should the state place on free speech and why? Along the way, we will also consider the relevance of slurs, microaggressions, outing, social media, and more.