Summer 2014 Courses
243: Ethics in Business
Profit-seeking business as we now know it came into existence after centuries of moral thinking which looked askance at any activity which is aimed solely at material gain. It is not surprising that some people think that most business activity is somewhat shady, while others think that business takes place in a peculiar world of its own where distinctions between right and wrong can have no meaning at all. In this course we will rethink our moral assumptions and apply them to business as it is actually done. We will discuss the moral legitimacy of corporate enterprise, the moral arguments for various sorts of business regulation, and some of the difficult decisions which people in business must sometimes face. Readings for the course illustrate and clarify the issues covered in the course. Course requirements will include two written essays and a final exam.
101/201: Introduction to Philosophy
This course is an introduction to philosophical questioning and the Western philosophical tradition. Through reading classical and contemporary texts, we will be examining central topics in this tradition: proofs for the existence of God, the meaning of life, the nature of art and beauty, and the nature of morality. By exploring these topics and works, students will develop a conception of what philosophy is, become familiar with its history, and acquire the skills needed to identify, evaluate, and construct arguments. In so doing, they will be laying the foundations for a fruitful engagement with philosophy and for critical thinking generally.
441: Environmental Ethics
This course deals with moral issues related to our environment. We will begin with a brief survey of various ethical theories about how we can determine what sorts of things are moral/immoral. With these theories in hand, we will consider a variety of issues, including: animal rights and whether we ought to be vegetarians; what we should do about population growth and increases in human consumption; and whether capitalism is environmentally sustainable.
241: Introductory Ethics
1:10 - 03:50 MTWR
In this course, which assumes no prior background in philosophy, we will address basic questions of moral philosophy: what makes actions right or wrong? What things are valuable in their own right? What is the correct way to determine the ingredients of a good life? Is morality objective in some way, and if so, does its objectivity depend on God's existence? What reason (if any) do we have to be moral? Substantial class participation will be required. There will be a midterm and a final examination.
341: Contemporary Moral Issues
8:55 - 11:35 MTWR
This course focuses on four contemporary moral issues: surrogate motherhood, abortion, income and wealth inequalities, and health care. In order to address those issues, it also provides a fragmentary introduction to ethical theorizing and to informal logic. There will be frequent homework assignments, weekly quizzes and a final examination. All course readings will be available on the learn@uw site for the course.