Summer 2018 Courses

FIRST 4 WEEK SESSION May 21, 2018 – June 12, 2018

341-1 Contemporary Moral Issues (Comm B)

1:10-3:50 MTWR


Under what circumstances, if any, is abortion morally permissible? Should the death penalty be abolished? What causes terrorism, and is it ever morally permissible to torture terrorists? This course teaches students how to think systematically about these fascinating questions. The emphasis is not on defending particular answers, but is instead on providing students with the tools they need to reach their own answers.

3241-1 Introductory Ethics

1:10-3:50 MTWR


In deciding how to act, we frequently guide ourselves by principles, which forbid or require various kinds of action. Moral philosophy is the attempt to systematically explore a number of questions which arise in connection with such principles. We may ask, for example: What is it for a principle to be a moral principle? Is morality a matter of personal or cultural preference? Is God the source of morality? Why should I be moral? Is there any way for us to know what one ought to do in a given circumstance? We also ask questions related to how we ought to conduct ourselves, like whether it�s morally permissible to eat meat, whether we ought to prohibit homosexuals from marrying, or whether torture is ever justified. This course will examine several of these questions and the answers suggested by various moral philosophers.

SECOND 4 WEEK SESSION June 18, 2018 – July 15, 2018

211-1 Elementary Logic (fulfills QRB requirement)

8:55-11:35 MTWR


Suppose I say, “If no one moved the cheese since last night, it’s in the fridge. If I didn’t move the cheese, then no one did. I didn’t move the cheese. So it’s still in the fridge.” This argument concerning the whereabouts of the cheese contains some premises followed by a conclusion. The argument is structured so that if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true as well.

In this course we will represent arguments in symbols to reveal their structure, then study argumentative structures that guarantee a true conclusion from true premises. We will also learn how to prove that an argument with a particular structure is valid. The techniques we will learn are necessary for every area of contemporary philosophy, and are relevant to areas of economics, mathematics, computer science, rhetoric, and the law.

243-1 Ethics in Business

8:55-11:35 MTWR


Suppose that, after many years of hard work, you become the CEO of a large corporation. On Monday, your HR department asks you to approve your company’s new sexual harassment policy: which practices should be prohibited by the policy and why? On Tuesday, you are offered an opportunity to engage in insider trading with no risk of getting caught; should you do it? On Wednesday, you have to decide whether it is better, all things considered, to build a new factory in the United States or in a country that has weaker protections for workers and the environment; which option should you choose? On Thursday, you are asked to re-evaluate your company’s affirmative action policies; what, if any, kinds of affirmative action policies should you use? On Friday, your advertising department and strategic negotiations team ask you about the extent to which it is acceptable to deceive your company’s adversaries or customers; what do you say? In this course, you will develop skills that will help you answer these questions and more.

THIRD 4 WEEK SESSION July 16, 2018 – August 12, 2018

304-1 Topic in Philosophy-Humanities
Philosophy and Feminism

1:10-3:50 MTWR


Feminism, broadly speaking, is an intellectual and social movement aimed at ending the oppression of women and girls. This course will focus on important topics for feminism in philosophy, with an emphasis on moral and political philosophy. These topics include sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, reproduction, pornography, the gendered division of labor, marriage, and abstract questions regarding justice and care in feminist ethics. We will also consider topics at the intersection of feminism, epistemology, and philosophy of science. We will consider questions such as the following: Is there a distinctly feminist ethical theory, feminist epistemology, or feminist philosophy of science? Is feminism compatible with political liberalism? Should feminists support or condemn the market for sexual labor? What does feminist theory tell us about the moral permissibility or impermissibility of abortion? Should the state do anything about the gendered division of labor, and if so, what?