contemporary moral issues

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Contemporary Moral Problems Syllabus
Philosophy 2400 sections 2 and 4
Fall 2005

Instructor: Charles Carlson
Office: Scott Hall 0107D
Phone number: 419-530-4522
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15 – 5:45

If you would like to meet with me at another time other than my office hours, please arrange with me in advance. I am almost always in my office hours but to make sure that we are able to meet up when you need to talk to me try to let me know if you are coming. My office is in a very confusing part of Scott Hall and getting directions from me beforehand will be helpful to you. The best way to contact me for any question or concern whatsoever is email, which I check far too often.

Text: Analyzing Moral Issues 3rd Edition, Judith A. Boss. ISBN 0072877030

Course Requirements
Two Essays (4-7 pages) over the topics we discussed. You should first pick one of the moral issues which we talked and read about. The first section of your paper should be a brief history of the issues. The second section of the paper should explain the arguments of both sides. The third and primary section of the paper should be a reasoned argument to a conclusion. I want to know what your thoughts on the issue are. Hopefully the essays we read and the information we look at will allow you to form a cohesive view of your own. Your job in this paper is to argue for that view and tell me why your argument has worth. 25% each 50% total

Five Case Studies (1-2 Pages)
At the end of each section in the book there are case studies. I will select which case studies and which questions to do and distribute them at the beginning of each topic. I will select two or three per assignment. On the days these are due we will look at the case studies as a class and discuss them. 5% each 25% total

One Quiz. September 8th there will be a quiz over the first couple weeks of class material. We will initially be discussing moral theory before we actually engage in some of the contemporary issues. It will be over material from the book and class and if you have attended regularly you will have a very good idea what it is going to be over. 10%

Late Work: You will lose five points per day for a late assignment, and anything over two weeks late will not be accepted (apart from reasons like death, imprisonment, or the end of the world).

Class participation and attendance: Please read all materials before coming to class. It helps to mark up your books and jot down ideas and sources of confusion while you read. Please bring your books and share any of these ideas or confusions during class time. Think about ways to apply these ideas to what you already know to test them, and think about comparisons and contrasts with other thinkers we look at. As a general rule, you should come to every class every day with something to say, even if it is never said. This is a class where class participation is crucial. Class participation is not continually talking and wasting class time through ambiguous argumentation. Nobody likes it when three people dominate all the talking in a class, this can only be prevented if everyone is willing to participate. This is a seminar-like class where the discussion among the class is important to the value of the class itself. Please have respect for what other people say and believe. Do not insult or condemn anyone for having a view that is different than your own. You are encouraged to provide reasoned and detailed arguments for why a particular view is flawed but just simply saying that it is wrong does not prove that the opposing view actually is wrong.

Avoid missing class. Much of the material for the exams will be covered in class and it will be crucial to your grade to attend regularly. You have three absences before it starts affecting your attendance and participation grade. 15%

Learning Disabilities: If you have a learning disability, please let me know, and I will help you contact the disability center on campus in order to make provisions for you.
Office of Accessibility (530-4981)

Academic Honesty: I expect the highest standards of academic honesty. Cheating, unauthorized collaboration on projects, and plagiarism (defined as the use of another’s ideas, thoughts, or phrases and representing those as your own) will result in failure of the assignment with no opportunity for make-up. See also the UT General Catalog 2004-2006 p. 26
Schedule of Semester’s Readings and Due Dates
Readings for assigned dates should be completed before coming to class

Moral Theory – What does the term morality mean?
Aug. 23rd – pg. 1-4 Intro to moral theory
Aug. 25th – pg. 5-16 and 42-47 Relativism and Aristotle
Aug 30th – pg. 17-19, 68-72, 58-61 Universality/Religion/Confucius and Locke
Sept. 1st – 20-31, 47-54 Kant and Mill
Sept. 6th – 32-42, 61-64 Rights/Virtue and Ayn Rand

Punishment and the Death Penalty
Sept. 8th – 233-239 Intro to the death penalty’s moral issues Moral Theory Quiz at beginning of class
Sept. 13th 240-252 Moral Issues and Van Den Haag
Sept. 15 – 253-272 Morris and Bedau
Sept. 20th – 272 to 279 Reiman and Case Studies Due

Sept. 22nd – 77-83 Intro to abortion moral issues
Sept. 27th – 83-90 Medical and Moral issues
Sept. 29 – 91-105 Thomson and Noonan
Oct. 4th – 106-116 Warren and Marquis
Oct. 6th – 117-125 Hales and Case Studies Due

War and Terrorism
Oct. 11th – 629-636 Intro to War
Oct. 13th – Midterm Paper Due
Oct. 20th – 637 to 646 Moral Issues and Anscombe
Oct. 25nd - 649-665 Coady and Hashmi
Oct. 27th – 666-680 Grover and Granoff
Nov. 1st –681-695 Luban and Ruddick
Nov. 3rd – 696-699 and Case Studies Due

Sexual Intimacy and Marriage
Nov. 8th - 349-355 Intro to the Issues
Nov. 10th – 356-363 Marriage and Same Sex Issues
Nov. 15th - 364-367, 378-384 The Vatican and Ruse
Nov. 17th 392-397, 403-411 Nava,Dawidoff and Wasserstrom

Genetic Engineering and Cloning
Nov. 22nd 132-145 History of the Issue and Sex Case Studies Due
Nov. 29th 146-152 Ridley and Anderson
Dec 1st – 160-167
Dec. 6th – 168-174
Dec. 8th - Case Study Due

Final Paper Due Friday Dec. 16th (no late papers)