Fall Semester, 2009
Detail

Jan. 27

Tuesday

Introduction

Sept. 3

Thursday

Defining Moral Problems: Everyday Moral Reasoning

8

Tuesday

Ethical Theory: Overview, Utilitarianism

10

Thursday

Ethical Theory: Rule-based approaches to morality

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

15

Tuesday

Ethical Theory: Character-based approaches to morality

Shaping Our Children through Genetic Manipulation

  • Read CMI, Chapter One.

17

Thursday

The octuplets case

Shaping Our Children through Genetic Manipulation

  • Read CMI, Chapter One

Case Study: Down Syndrome

Stock-Fukuyama debate

Additional Resources

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).

22

Tuesday

Genetic Enhancement and Designer Babies

 

24

Thursday

No class

Genetic Enhancement and Cloning (continued)

29

Tuesday

Ethics in the news:

Video: Gattaca


Oct. 1

Thursday

Video: Gattaca

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

6

Tuesday

Comments on Gattaca;

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?

8

Thursday

Abortion (continued)

13

Tuesday

Mid-Term Exam

Possible long essay questions: (I will choose one of these for the mid-term exam.)

  • Possibility #1: The movie "Gattaca" depicts an imaginary future society in which genetic screening has come to play a major role. Write an essay in which you analyze the ethical issues raised by the movie, showing a critical awareness of the course readings and resources. Be sure to include in your discussion the difference between consequentialist and deontological ethical theories and the applicability of that distinction to our understanding of the ethical issues raised by the movie.
  • Possibility #2: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 genetic manipulation. State and defend your own position on this issue.

Previous exam

Journals:.

15

Thursday

Class cancelled due to illness

20

Tuesday

Euthanasia & End-of-Life

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."

22

Thursday

Euthanasia & End-of-Life

27

Tuesday

Euthanasia and End-of-Life

29

Thursday

Stem Cell Research

PowerPoint

Videos

Web Resources

Recommended on eReserve:

Sixth Journal Entry: Ethics of stem cell researcy

Nov. 3

Tuesday

Stem Cells (continued)

 

5

Thursday

Punishment

PowerPoint on Punishment

Read:

  • CMI, Chapter on Punishment
  • Atul Gawande, "Hellhole," New Yorker, March 30, 2009.

10

Tuesday

Capital Punishment

Journal entry on issues in punishment or capital punishment.

12

Thursday

Capital Punishment (continued)

17

Tuesday

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.

19

Thursday

Humanitarian Intervention; Torture

PowerPoints

ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen "High Value Detainees" in CIA Custody

Mark Danner, The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means, New York Review of Books, 56, 7 (April 30, 2009)

Mark Danner, "US Torture: Voices from th Black Sites," New York Review of Books, 56, 6 (April 9, 2009).

New York Times guide to the Torture Memos

Office of Legal Counsel Legal Memoranda (April 19, 2009)

"In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Look at the Past," NYT, April 22, 2009.

US Senate Final Report on Detainees in U.S. Custody Released April 21, 2009.

Timeline. Senate Intelligence committee. Released April 22, 2009. Washington Post summary. April 23, 2009; Post article.

Thomas Friedman, "A Tortorous Compromise"

 

24

Tuesday

World Hunger & Moral Obligation

PowerPoint

Expanding the Circle

Resources:

26

Thursday

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Dec. 1

Tuesday

World Hunger & Moral Obligation

Journal: World hunger

3

Thursday

Exam #2 (note this is a change!)

The exam format will be the same as the mid-term: ten short answer questions, one long essay.

Journals due at beginning of exam:

  • 4 journal entries on any of the topics covered since the mid-term exam.

The following materials will be possible material for short answer questions:

  • Readings:
    • John Hardwig, "Is there a duty to die?"
    • James Rachels, "Active and Passive Euthanasia"
    • David Gelernter, "What Do Murderers Deserve?"
    • Jeffrey Reiman, "Against the Death Penalty"
    • Garrett Hardin, "Lifeboat Ethics"
    • Peter Singer, "Rich and Poor"
    • Contemporary Moral Issues, Overviews of the Issues for chapters on:
      • Euthanasia (Chap. 3),
      • Punishment (Chap. 4),
      • War (Chap. 5), and
      • World Hunger (Chapter 9)
  • PowerPoints
    • Euthanasia
    • Stem Cell Ethics
    • Punishment
    • Capital Punishment
    • Just War
    • Torture
    • World Hunger
  • Videos
    • Moyers, "A Death of One's Own"

The two possible long essay questions are:.

  • Possibility #1: Showing a critical awareness of the course concepts, readings, videos, and discussions, develop and defend your position on the morality of physician-assisted dying. Be sure to include a discussion of the differences between deontological and utilitarian approaches to this issue and an application of these ideas to the Moyer's video "A Death of One's Own."
  • Possibility #2: Showing a critical awareness of the course concepts, readings, and discussions, write an essay in which you develop and defend your position on the morality of torture. Be sure to include a discussion of the differences between deontological and utilitarian approaches to this issue.

8

Tuesday

Dead Man Walking (video on class)

10

Thursday

Dead Man Walking (cont.) Sr. Helen Prejean;

Hinman: video comments on "Dead Man Walking"; alternate source; YouTube

Additional resource:

22

Tuesday

Journals due:

  • One journal entry is due, covering your comments on the class videos on Dec. 8 and 10.

Final Exam. 8:00 AM

The final exam will cover the video materials viewed on December 8 and 10. It will be a short, multiple-choice exam. I do not usually use multiple-choice exams, but will be recovering from surgery during this period.