Philosophical Analysis of Contemporary Moral Issues

PHILOS XL 4

When if ever is abortion permissible? What moral rights do animals possess? Must we conserve the natural world? This course critically investigates the arguments and principles invoked in these debates.

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What you can learn.

  • Describe utilitarian and non-consequentialist approaches to morality
  • Argue for and against views in contemporary moral debates about healthcare, the state, biotechnology, and environmental ethics
  • Explain the positions and arguments developed in philosophical readings

About this course:

This course investigates a range of moral questions that arise in contemporary society, focusing in particular on medical and environmental concerns. In addition to exploring perennial issues like abortion, euthanasia, and cloning, the course discusses questions like: Is genetic enhancement of human beings justifiable? As advances in neuroscience reveal more and more about the brain's functioning, can we really maintain the view that we have free will? Is genetic modification of crops morally acceptable? Do we have a duty to conserve the natural world, even at the expense of human advancement? The course critically investigates the arguments and principles invoked in these debates. Our goal is not to settle the questions examined, but to expand our understanding of them and to elevate the level of debate about them. Transferable for UC credit.

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