Summer 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Hiltz, Stephen
Discipline and Number
PHIL 3375 Section 09M
MW Time 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Course Title
Ethics in Contemporary America

Description of Course:

Philosophy involves thoughtful analysis and assessment of the fundamental concepts, assumptions, principles and patterns of inference that are implicit in various areas of discourse. By taking this course you are agreeing to become a participant in this activity. We will be limiting our attention here to moral discourse, focusing in particular on the ethical assessment of warfare in its various forms. We will begin with a substantial introduction to basic moral theory and then address the topic of war. Initially our focus will be on conventional wars, but many of the essays we’ll be reading deal with the special case of terrorism and responses to it, as well as with the Islamic tradition of jihad. In conjunction with standard philosophical treatments of the issues, we will watch and discuss the award-winning movie, The Battle of Algiers.

Required Texts:

James E. White, Contemporary Moral Problems (required)
James P. Sterba, ed., Terrorism and International Justice (required)

Reza Aslan, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (recommended only, available as an ebook at McDermott Library)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

I'm not sure if the catalog still requires a prior course in Philosophy; but I am quite willing, in any case, to grant my permission to take the course to those who have not yet taken any philosophy courses, since no prior familiarity with philosophy is really needed in order to understand the readings or otherwise perform well in the course.

Grades will be based on 3 equally weighted 45-minute tests (70%) and approximately 8 quizzes (30%).

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