Social Ethics and Political Thought (PHIL 170 sec. 001)

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Instructor: Jonathan Tresan. This course meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in Caldwell 105.

This course centers on claims that the status quo involves radical, systematic wrongdoing: morally objectionable treatment of one group by another.  We’ll explore what proponents of these claims have said in their defense, evaluate the merits of their arguments, consider potential supplementations of and objections to those arguments, and, insofar as we are persuaded, possible remedies.  One aim is to learn more about the details of what is occurring in our world.  But our primary aim, as befits a philosophy course, is to illuminate and explore the deep principles involved.  Potential wronged groups include (in no particular order): animals, fetuses, females, darker-skinned people, homosexuals, Iraqis, the global poor, exploited workers, Americans who lack affordable health care or high quality education, those imprisoned for recreational drug use, the prison population in general, the highly taxed, future generations, and more.  Students will have some say in which are explored.  Two constraints: the claim of radical, systematic wrongdoing must be controversial or at least not widely known to be true, and the wrongdoing, if it does exist, must be something that a significant number of Americans, working together, could ameliorate.

Jonathan Tresan’s webpage