PHIL 140 – Fall 2011 Syllabus (1)

PHIL 140 – Fall 2011 Syllabus (1) - PHIL...

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PHIL 140 – CONTEMPORARY MORAL ISSUES (Fall 2011) Prof. S. Dwyer Lec: M,W 12:00-12:50PM Skinner 1110B TYD 0130 301-405-7867 OHs: Tu 3:30PM-5:00PM dwyer@umd.edu Outline We will critically examine four controversial topics: Pornography and Free Speech; Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide; Punishment and the Death Penalty; and Abortion. The class has two main aims: (1) to introduce you to some central concepts in ethical theory and moral reasoning; and (2) to help you begin to develop views about the aforementioned topics that you can articulate and defend. Among the questions we will consider are the following: Is pornography harmful? Should the state censor or restrict the publication of pornography? Do we have a right to determine the manner and time of our own deaths? Is it permissible for a doctor to kill a patient at that patient’s request? How is punishment justified? Should the death penalty be retained or abolished in the United States? What is the right to life? Is the human fetus a person? What is the relation between morality and the law? Texts All the readings are on electronic reserves accessible through the ELMS course page. Handouts, assignments, and announcements All handouts, assignments, announcements, and PowerPoint slides shall be posted on ELMS. I shall also use your official UMD email to communicate with you. It is each student’s responsibility to check for announcements and to read their University email. (Further note about email: if you send me email from a non-UMD account, please make sure that “PHIL140” appears in the subject line. Otherwise, your mail will be deleted.) 1
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Evaluation The maximum number of points achievable is 100. 85-100 (A); 71-84 (B); 60-70 (C); 50-60 (D); 0-50 (F). Totals will be calculated on the basis of the following assignments: One exegetical writing exercise (300-500 word) (10 points) Two short (750-1000 word) writing assignments (15 points each) One (1500-1750 word) paper (25 points) One argument schema and analysis (35 points) Due dates for all evaluated work are on the syllabus. PLEASE PLAN AHEAD. Instructions for all assignments will be posted well in advance of the due dates on ELMS. Please use our office hours to talk about assignments. Please note that anything in the “A” range counts as excellent , anything in the “B” range counts as good , anything in the “C” range counts as acceptable , anything in the “D” range counts as borderline , and an “F” signifies failure and unsatisfactory performance. Expectations: What you can expect from me My guiding assumptions in teaching this class are these. First, controversial and emotional topics admit of systematic scrutiny. We can think about them clearly and carefully. Second, careful attention to these issues will help us see what particular views are defensible. We ought to be
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PHIL 140 – Fall 2011 Syllabus (1) - PHIL...

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