Spring Semester, 2009
Overview

Month Date Day Topic
Jan. 27 T

Welcome; Introduction to Course Requirements; Some tantalizing issues

Initial essay assignment

 

 

29

Th

Theory, Part One

  • Overview
  • Utilitarianism
Feb.

3

T

Theory, Part Two

  • Ethics of Duty
  • Ethics of Virtue

First journal assignment: Reflect on your own moral decision making process. To what extent do you decide moral questions on the basis of consequences? on the basis of deontological rules? Relate your experience to the theories presented in class. (2 pages typed, double-spaced)

 

5

Th

Shaping Our Children through Genetic Manipulation

  • Read CMI, Chapter One

Case Study: Down Syndrome

Stock-Fukuyama debate

Additional Resources

 

 

10

T

Stem Cell Ethics & Regenerative Medicine

Video

PowerPoint presentations:

Recommended on eReserve (password "phil321" without the quotation marks):

  • "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. (1-2 pages, double-spaced)

 

12

Th

Stem Cell Ethics and the Moral Status of the Fetus

PowerPoint presentations:

Videos

Web Resources

Recommended on eReserve:

  • Recommended: George, R.P. and Tollefsen, C., Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2008)
  • Andres Siegel, "Ethics of Stem Cell Research," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Third Journal Assignment: Stem cell research offers great promises of cures to diseases and disorders that are both very serious and also not susceptible to cures by other means. What limits, if any, should be placed on the conduct of stem cell research?

 

17

T

In-class Video: Gattaca

 

19

Th

In-class Video: Gattaca (continued)

  24 T  
  26 Th  
March

3

T

Abortion

Recommended: (all on eReserve)

  • Gary Wills, “Why Abortion Is Not a Religious Issue”
  • “Missing female births in India,” Lancet 2006.
  • Alexi A. Wright, M.D., and Ingrid T. Katz, M.D., M.H.S., “Roe versus Reality — Abortion and Women's Health.”  NEJM
  • “China's surplus of sons: A geopolitical time bomb.”  Christian Science Monitor. October 19, 2007.
  • “Under Din of Abortion Debate, an Experience Shared Quietly” NYT 2007.

Recommended:

Fourth Journal Assignment: Abortion is a contentious issue in the current presidential election. Write an essay in which you develop and defend your position on the proper role of government in the regulation of abortion in the United States. (1-2 pages, typed)

 

5

Th

Euthanasia & End-of-Life

Read CMI, Chapter Three

Recommended: reading

Notes:

229

 

10

T

Euthanasia & End-of-Life (Bill Moyers video, "A Death of One's Own,", part 1)

 

12

Th

Euthanasia & End-of-Life (video, part 2)

Fifth Journal Assignment: Increasingly we are forced to choose when to discontinue further medical care for terminally ill patients. Write an essay in which you begin to develop your position on active and passive euthanasia. (1-2 pages, typed.)

 

17

T

Concluding Discussion: End-of_life Decisions
Review for Mid-term Exam

 

19

Th

Mid-Term Exam

  • Previous exam
  • Short answer questions may cover:
    • Class PowerPoint presentations
    • Class videos and discussions
    • Overviews of the Moral Issues in CMI
    • Stock and Fukuyama, "The Clone Wars"
    • McGee. "Parenting in an Era of Genetics"
    • Jame English, "Abortion and the Concept of a Person"
    • Don Marquis, "Why Abortion Is Immoral"
    • John Hardwig, "Is there a duty to die?"
    • James Rachels, "Active and Passive Euthanasia"
  • Long Essay Questions: (I will choose one of the following 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 the public funding of human embryonic stem cell research. Be sure to indicate what the current status of such funding is in the United States. State and defend your own position on this issue.
    • Write an essay critically applying the ideas in your readings on end-of-life issues to Bill Moyers' "A Death of One's Own." Be sure to highlight the difference between consequentialist and deontological approaches.
  • Journals: At the beginning of the exam please turn in your journals. There should be five journal entries on the topics listed above.

 

Punishment & the Death Penalty

Read: CMI, Chapter Four

 

 

24

T

The Death Penalty; Dead Man Walking

Video

  • Dead Man Walking
  • script of Dead Man Walking

PowerPoint

 

 

26

Th

Return of Mid-term; Theories of Punishment

 

31

T

The Death Penalty (Dead Man Walking, middle)

Sixth Journal Assignment: Write an essay on your position on the morality of the death penalty in the United States. (2 pages, double-spaced)

April

2

Th

 

The Death Penalty (Dead Man Walking, conclusion)

  • Office hours today will be held in Aromas
 

7

T

Just War Theory

Seventh Journal Assignment: When is a nation justified in going to war?

 

9

Th

Humanitarian Intervention

Read:

 

14

T

Terrorism

Recommended Videos: Rendition; Munich; Syriana

Eighth Journal Assignment: Write an essay in which you discuss the ethical issues raised in one of the following movies: Rendition, Munich, or Syriana.

 

16

Th

Torture

 

 

21

T

 

Assignment:

 

23

Th

Torture

Ninth Journal Assignment: Write an essay in which you develop and defend your position on the morality of torture.

 

28

T

Thanksgiving Vacation

 

 

30

Th

In the news:

initial presentation on Race.

  • Read Chapter Six, Overview of the Ethical Issues
  • PowerPoint on Race

Tenth Journal Assignment:

May

5

T

Video: "The Torture Question." Frontline.

 

7

Th

Final exam notes

Please turn in print copies of the last five journal entries at the beginning of the final exam.

The exam will be the same format the the mid-term: ten short answer questions and one long essay.  The short answer questions are worth five points apiece, the long essay is worth fifty points.

Potential material for short-answer questions:


Possible long-essay questions:

 

 

12

T

Concluding Comments

  20 T Final Exam: 8:00-10-:00 AM for section 1; 11:00 Am - 1:00 PM for section 2.