729 6P


University of Massachusetts Boston SPRING Term 2019

PHIL 108-1C Moral and Social Problems T,Th 3-6 PM Office: Wheatley 5-048

Instructor: Jack Bayne email: jack.bayn[email protected] Office hours: Fr 2-3 PM

Course Description:

The course will analyze and discuss a number of moral problems which are quite controversial in contemporary American society, including environmental ethics and animal rights, sexual morality, pornography and censorship, hate speech, abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, war and torture terrorism, global redistribution of wealth and welfare, racial and sexual equality and affirmative action,. The emphasis will be on weighing the arguments pro and con, and deciding which side has the best supporting grounds for its point of view. It is hoped that a more balanced and objective evaluation of the arguments on these moral issues will result from standing back and gaining some critical distance upon things upon which we might already have formed fixed positions and about which we might have strong feelings. The objective of the course will be to come to a deeper and broader understanding of these moral problems and to engage in critical reflection upon them through reading pertinent articles and through open discussion. In addition, the themes of diversity and inclusiveness will be critically and discussed with the aim of broadening the student’s horizon and encouraging respect for diverse points of view and backgrounds. The student will be expected to think for her/himself, developing her/his own position, and formulating arguments to support it on the basis of the ongoing debate. There will be three 6-7 page term papers upon any of the moral issues discussed in class. These paper assignments will be designed to teach the student how to write an argumentative type paper in keeping with the course designation as a core course. Each paper will count for 30% of the final grade and the final 10% will be awarded for attendance and class participation. Attendance will be taken by means of an iPad App in each class meeting

Required text:

Doing Ethics, 2nd Edition Ed. Lewis Vaughn, (Norton and Co., Inc., 2010).

Course Schedule:

Meeting Reading Topic

1 pp. 1-64 Introduction to Ethics, Relativism and Moral Arguments

2 pp. 65-160 Moral Theories, Utilitarianism, Kantian Deontology, Virtue

3 pp, 161-227 Abortion

4 pp. 228-290 Euthanasia, Doctor-assisted Suicide, Hospice

5 pp. 291-347 Capital Punishment

6 pp. 348-404 Pornography and Censorship

7 pp. 405-450 Sexuality, Marriage, Gay Rights

8 pp. 451-497 Equality and Affirmative Action

9 pp. 498-554 Environmental Ethics

10 pp. 555-607 Animal Rights

11 pp. 608-756 Warfare, Terrorism, Torture

12 pp. 757-820 Global Economic Justice