Phil 321: Social Ethics
Sect. 3 & 4

Fall Semester, 2011
T, Th; 7:45 AM & 10:45 AM

Schedule

Sept. 1

Thursday

Introduction

6

Tuesday

Defining Moral Problems: Everyday Moral Reasoning

  • journal guidelines
  • In-class writing assignment: write a short essay in which you describe a contemporary moral issue that you think is genuinely difficult to decide.  Indicate the pro's and con's and explain why you think it is difficult to decide.  What would help to resolve the issue? Writing time: 15 minutes.  Followed by in-class discussion.

8

Thursday

Ethical Theory: Overview, Utilitarianism

  • in class writing assignment: write a brief paragraph in which you describe your own position on a specific moral issue about which you have a definite position.  Begin the essay with, "I think that [x] is morally [right/wrong] because..." and then give three reasons for your position.  Writing time: 5 minutes. 
  • Background reading: Hinman, "The Ethics of Consequences," eReserve.

13

Tuesday

Ethical Theory: Rule-based approaches to morality

15
Thursday

Ethical Theory: Character-based approaches to morality

  • Background reading: Hinman, "The Ethics of Character"

First Journal Assignment: Write an essay discussing the various major approaches in ethical theory and your own position in this regard.

 

 

Cloning, Genetic Manupulation, Regenerative Medicine

  Part One.  Ethics of Life and Death

20

Tuesday

Shaping Our Children through Genetic Manipulation

  • Read CMI, Chapter One
  • "Making Laws about Making Babies," New York Times, Sept. 13, 2011. (also on eReserve)
  • Hinman, "Chapter 01.  Reproductive Technology.  An Introduction to the Moral Issues." (emailed to you and on eReserve)  This replaces the introduction to the ethical issues in your textbook.
  • "Sandel, Enhancement--with commentary."  (emailed to you and on eReserve)

The octuplets case

Case Studies: Liver Cancer, Down Syndrome

Stock-Fukuyama debate

Additional Resources

Stem Cell Ethics & Regenerative Medicine

Video

PowerPoint presentations:

Recommended on eReserve:

  • "Girl or Boy? As Fertility Technology Advances, So Does an Ethical Debate." Grady, D.
  • "There is No Me Without You." Shapiro, D.
  • "Wanting Babies Like Themselves, Some Parents Choose Genetic Defects." Sanghavi, D.M.
  • Katrina Clark, "My Father Was an Anonymous Sperm Donor" Washington Post. December 17, 2006.
  • Peggy Orenstein, "In Vitro We Trust" New York Times. July 20, 2008.

Additional resources:

Second Journal Assignment: Genetic testing has made it increasingly possible to test for genetic traits extremely early in a pregnancy. In some cases the results of these tests may result in abortion, in non-implantation of embryos, or in modification of embryos. What general principles should be used in deciding (a) when such tests can be performed and (b) what actions may be taken as a result of such tests. (2 pages, double-spaced).

22

Thursday

Study day: no in-class meeting.  (LMH off campus)

27

Tuesday

Genetic Enhancement and Designer Babies

In the news:

Video: Gattaca

Genetic Enhancement and Cloning (continued)

attaca (concl.) Ethics in the news:

Third Journal Assignment: Essay discussing ethical issues in "Gattaca."

 

29

Thursday

Class Lecture on Genetic Technologies

PowerPont: Genetic Technologies

In the News:


Oct. 4

Tuesday

Continuation of Genetic Technologies

Eugenics

 

6
Thursday

Stem Cell Research

PowerPoint

Videos

Web Resources

Recommended on eReserve:

Review for the mid-term exam

 11

Tuesday

Mid-Term Exam

  • turn in three journal entries

Short Answer questions will cover:

  • Hinman, "Chapter 01.  Reproductive Technology.  An Introduction to the Moral Issues." (emailed to you and on eReserve)  This replaces the introduction to the ethical issues in your textbook.
  • Sandel, "What's Wrong with Enhancement--with commentary."  (emailed to you and on eReserve)
  • Sandel, "What's Wrong with Enhancement?"
  • "Embryo Screening", New York Times video
  • Gattaca
  • PowerPoints:
    • Ethical Theory: Overview
    • The Ethics of Genetic Manipulation
    • Stem Cell Ethics
    • Eugenics

Long Essay Question (two possible questions will be posted here, I will choose one. Click here for grading rubric for the long essay. Here are the two possible questions:

  • Consequentialist and deontological approaches to moral questions sometimes yield quite different answers. Write an essay, showing a critical awareness of the class readings and lectures and discussions, in which you discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of both deontological and consequentialist approaches to the question of stem cell research. Be sure to include a discussion of the relevant course materials.
  • Write an essay critically applying the ideas in your readings and other course materials to the movie "Gattaca." In your discussion, be sure to state and defend your own position on the issues discussed and to highlight the difference between consequentialist and deontological approaches to these issues.


Previous exam  (updated)

Journals:.

  • three journal entries, covering topics in ethical theory, genetic technologies and Gattaca.

 

13

Thursday

No class

18
Tuesday

  Abortion

PowerPoint

Fourth Journal Assignment: Write an essay discussing your views on the moral status of the embryo. Is it a person? Why, why not? When? How does your view relate to the authors we are considering?

20
Thursday

In the news:

Abortion, Part II

Return of mid-term exams; guidelines for grade appeals

25

Tuesday

Return of exams.  Euthanasia & End-of-Life

PowerPoint on Euthanasia

Read CMI, Chapter Three

Recommended: reading

Fifth Journal Assignment: Write an essay in which you discuss the issues raised by the Moyers' video "A Death of One's Own."

27

Thursday

Euthanasia & End-of-Life (Moyers, conclusion)

Nov. 1

Tuesday

Sr. Prejean talk at USD

  • Note: You may attend this lecture and write a 2 page response paper as a substitute for one of your journal entries.

In the news:

Punishment and the Death Penalty

PowerPoint on Punishment

Read:

Some useful staistics:

3

Thursday

Jeffrey Kleiman, "When Brute Force Fails"  C-SPAN, Octobr 23, 2009

Pew Center:

Capital Punishment

8

Tuesday

Jesuit Volunteer Corps presentation (5 minutes)
Capital Punishment

California Death Penalty

Journal entry on issues in punishment or capital punishment.

10

Thursday

Capital Punishment

California Death Penalty

Journal entry on issues in punishment or capital punishment.

15

Tuesday

Just War

Just War Theory; Humanitarian Intervention; Torture

Read: CMI, Chapter on war

Jus post Bellum: Justice and Reconciliation

Bill Moyers Video with Mark Danner and Bruce Fein (not: this link takes you to the first of the five segments for this on-line video. Links to the remaining four parts are given on the page for part one.

17

Thursday

Humanitarian Intervention; Torture

PowerPoints

Additional Resources:

 

22
Tuesday

Torture

  • Video: "Torture and the War on Terror."  Case Western Reserve University. Note: the papers from this conference are available on eReserve for our course in the folder "Torture."
    • Moderator: Professor Robert Lawry, Case School of Law; Director, Center for Professional Ethics, Case
    • "Defining Torture" – Professor David Sussman, University of Illinois
    • "Exceptionalism: Torture American Style"– Professor Henry Shue, Oxford University
    • "Torture: Morality and Convention" – Professor Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University
24 Thursday Thanksgiving

29

Tuesday

Reading day on Sussman and Shue.  No class meeting.

Dec. 1

Thursday

Animal Rights; World Hunger

Population Pyramids:

6

Tuesday

Announcement: Dalai Lama visit to USD

Short answer questions will cover:

  • PowerPoints

    • Abortion
    • Concept of Personhood
    • Euthanasia
    • Punishment
    • Death Penalty
    • Just War Theory
    • Torture
    • Virtue Ethics
  • Videos
    • Moyers, "A Death of One's Own" notes
    • Dead Man Walking notes
    • Kleiman, "When Brute Force Fails" notes
    • Shue and Sussman, "Torture and the War on Terror;" notes
  • Readings

Turn in three journals at the beginning of the exam on any of the following topics:

  • Moyers' video "A Death of One's Own"
  • Punishment
  • Death Penalty
  • Sr. Prejean talk at USD
  • Dead Man Walking.
  • Just War Theory
  • Torture
  • Animal rights/welfare

8

Thursday

Last day of class -- concluding comments, individual conferences

  • Note: Two possible long essay questions will be posted here at noon on December 8.

Final exam long essay questions

  1. It is often difficult to draw the line between passive and active euthanasia.  Write an essay in which you present your position on (a) where the line should be drawn and (b) which of these are morally acceptable.  To illustrate your points, use the Moyers’ video, “A Death of One’s Own,” and be sure to refer to the course readings and other relevant material.
  2. Imagine that you have been asked by the current governor to be part of a panel that will make recommendations to him about whether California should eliminate the death penalty.  At the first meeting, each participant is supposed to present his or her initial recommendations.  Write an essay in which you present your position on the continuation of the death penalty in California.  Be sure to include a critical consideration of the materials on this topic in the course on social ethics that you took as an undergraduate at USD.

13

Tuesday

Additional office hours: to be posted.

15
Thursday

Final Exam.   Section #3: 8:00-10:00 AM--please bring a BLACK PEN!

Note: Students in Sect. 3 or 4 can take the exam at either time but must tell me in advance if they are not taking the exam with their scheduled section.

20
Tuesday

Final Exam., Section #4: 8:00-10:00 AM--please bring a BLACK PEN!

Note: Students in Sect. 3 or 4 can take the exam at either time but must tell me in advance if they are not taking the exam with their scheduled section