The course will be taught by a combination of informal lecture and structured discussion. Class participation will be encouraged throughout all aspects of the course. As dialogue is essential to philosophical growth, time will be allowed for in-depth, “give and take” discussions between individual students and the instructor and between individual students and other students, as well as for more general class discussions. Students may be invited to participate in class-instruction, if they so desire, by giving seminars. Some audio-visual materials, focussing on particular ethical problems, or the understanding of such problems, will be used.
- The course will primarily involve an examination of current ethical issues which are of general interest to the student. For example:
- the morality of taking human life: abortion, euthanasia, suicide, capital punishment, war;
- the relation of morality to the law: the “moral majority”, paternalism, civil libertarianism, pornography, drugs, censorship;
- the just or unjust treatment of sentient beings, e.g., racism, sexism, affirmative action, animal liberation, poverty and famine;
- the direction of culture and civilization: technology, T.V. and violence, eugenics, education and indoctrination, ecology, capitalism, socialism.
- Through the examination of the types of issues in #1, students will learn the general dialogical method of developing their own moral perspective and will be acquainted with various philosophical methods for confronting moral issues (e.g., analytic, existential, phenomenological, pragmatic).
- Through the examination of the types of issues in #1, students will also become acquainted with:
- different types of posture: in ethics (e.g. subjectivism/objectivism, egoism/altruism, individualism/authoritarianism, relativism/universalism) as they relate both to personal and social morality;
- different ethical theories, e.g., utilitarian, deontological, virtue, existential, and situational; and
- different kinds of levels of ethics, e.g., descriptive, normative and meta-ethical.
At the end of the course, the successful student should be able to:
- Think in a meaningful way about some of the major contemporary ethical issues.
- Learn how to develop personal philosophical positions in relation to some of these issues.
- Examine some contemporary theorizing about these issues by moral philosophers who have wrestled with them and attempted to formulate solutions in a rational and critical manner.
- Become familiar with some of the fundamental philosophical problems which underlie these issues, through the reading of classical and modern philosophical theories.
- Recognize that critical thinking is imperative to handle the complexities inherent in modern moral issues and that simple answers and thoughtless actions are dangerous responses.
Evaluation will be based upon course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.
Any combination of the following totalling 100%:
|Test, Quizzes, and Short Assignments||20% - 50%|
|Written Class Presentations, Essays, Essay Exams||20% - 60%|
|Instructor’s General Evaluation
(e.g., participation, attendance,
homework, improvement, extra-credit, group work)
|0% - 20%|
Sample Texts (one of the following):
- Camp, J. C. V; Olen, J.; and Barry, V. Applying Ethics: A Text with Readings, 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth, 2011.
- Rachels, J. The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2010.
- White, J. E. Contemporary Moral Problems, 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth, 2006.
None - Although PHIL 1101 is recommended