Syllabus(2) - Syllabus Philosophy 106 Moral Controversies...

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Syllabus Philosophy 106 Moral Controversies Spring 2007 MWF 1-150 FR 107 Benjamin Shaeffer Office Hours : MW 4-5; T 10-11:30, and by appointment, BSS 556. 826-5755 hbs1@humboldt.edu We will critically discuss the main moral theories in Western culture – utilitarianism, deontologism, virtue ethics, and social contract theory -- and their application to a number of important contemporary moral controversies such as the morality of war and terrorism, the moral status of animals, our moral obligation to distant peoples and members of our own families, and capital punishment. Among the questions we will consider are: How are the consequences of one’s actions relevant to their moral evaluation, if they are? What is it to have moral rights? What is the basis for moral rights? How is acting morally different from acting from self-interest? Are there any good reasons for acting besides self-interested ones? What does it mean to say that someone is a good person in the moral sense? Can a good person do the wrong thing morally? Are war and terrorism ever justified? What is terrorism, and how is it morally different from war (if it is)? Do animals have moral rights? What moral obligations, if any, do we have to persons in other parts of the world? Are we obligated to feed or otherwise benefit them? What obligations do children have to their parents, and vice versa? Is the death penalty morally justifiable? If so, on what grounds? As you can probably already see, these questions are complex and interrelated. Each question gives rise to further, equally compelling questions. Our purpose is to work through the issues for ourselves , using the texts as the basis for our discussion. In each case our aim is to critically examine the arguments on every side of the issue and to determine which are the most persuasive. All of this means that it is crucially important that each member of the class attend each
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PHIL 106 taught by Professor Shaffer during the Spring '08 term at Humboldt State University.

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Syllabus(2) - Syllabus Philosophy 106 Moral Controversies...

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