Topics in Normative Ethics (graduate seminar, 5315)
This class is divided into four sections. In the first quarter of the class, we are investigating principled ways of defending deontological intuitions: the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing and the Doctrine of Double Effect. The second quarter of the semester is devoted to the Numbers Problem for Deontology. The third quarter of the class involves an examination of rights, their form and function, and whether or not a consequentialist theory can have them. Finally, in the last quarter of the class, we are examining promises and promissory obligation. What is promissory obligation? When does it arise? And can a consequentialist theory take promises seriously? The course readings are largely contemporary. We are reading a selection of articles. In the last quarter of the class we are reading David Owens’ new book, Shaping the Normative Landscape. This second half of this book focuses on promises.
Sexual Wrongdoing (graduate seminar, 5315)
This class explores sexual wrongdoing that both is and is not typically characterized as undermining sexual consent: sexual coercion, sexual exploitation, sexual harms, objectification; deceiving sexual partners; sexual shaming; sexual seduction; sexual promise-breaking, and holding people to sexual promises
Undergraduate courses that I regularly teach:
Special Topics: Bioethics (3298)
In this course we will investigate six moral concepts/distinctions in bioethics. The concepts are: well-being, the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, consent, autonomy, exploitation, and inequality. We will examine the boundaries and applications of these concepts by looking at a variety of applied topics in bioethics. These include (but are not limited to): physician assisted suicide; our treatment of animals; abortion; genetic and chemical enhancement; commercial surrogacy; and markets in bodily parts (e.g. kidney sales). The syllabus will include both articles and movies. Students will be responsible for producing multiple items for evaluation, taylored to the individual student’s abilities and interests. These assignments will combine to demonstrate: A. Breadth of understanding (e.g. a examination or weekly response to articles) B. Depth of understanding (e.g. a research paper or a substantial group presentation); C. Engagement with Material: (e.g. movie and article responses). The class includes a Bioethics Film Series supplement – movies shown in Theater 2 of Babbidge Library.
This is a course in metaethics, normative ethics, and value theory. Can moral claims can be objectively true? If so, to what principles can we appeal to guide us in our moral deliberations? What makes a human life go best? We use Russ Shafer-Landau’s textbook, The Fundamentals of Ethics. At the end of the class we sometimes read Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go and discuss the moral decisions made by its characters that relate to value theory and normative ethics.
Philosophy and Social Ethics (1104):
A course in contemporary moral issues: abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, redistributive taxation, and prostitution. Early in the semester the class becomes acquainted with some basic ethical theories. They go on to tackle (i.e. understand, object to, defend, and debate) arguments for and against the moral permissibility of these actions and policies.
Philosophy and Gender (1107):
This is a course at the intersection of Women’s Studies and Philosophy – we start by discussing general themes in gender studies: gender essentialism, “Woman as Other,” objectification, oppression, varieties of feminism, conceptual analyses of sexism. We go on to examine arguments in philosophical literature through the lens of these themes: abortion, prostitution, commercial surrogacy, sexual coercion, sexual consent, and date rape.