Practical Ethics (PHIL 163H.001)

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Instructor: Thomas Hill. This honors course meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in Caldwell 213.

In this course we will address controversial ethical issues that are practically important and raise significant philosophical questions. The topics to be discussed will include, for example, ethical questions about several the following: abortion, suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, racism, sexism, pornography, hate speech, terrorism, torture, world hunger, the ethical treatment of animals, and value of the natural environment. The readings represent different points of view. The authors attempt to clarify the issues and offer reasons for their judgments and objections to opposing ones. The course will begin with some basic background about moral theory and brief selections from several classic ethical writings, but the primary focus will be on the practical ethical issues. Participation and discussion in an Honors class of this sort is crucial. There will be several writing assignments, some group work, and an (essay type) final examination. Emphasis will be on respectful understanding of opposing views, examining one’s own assumptions, critically analyzing arguments, and expressing one’s views with clarity and rigor.

Thomas Hill’s webpage