Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics

Catalog Description

The various sections of this course discuss a wide variety of ethical issues. 


PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics - Lying and Deception in Politics and Ethical Theory

Dr. Tom Carson

Political lying and deception are grave problems because public policies tend to turn out very badly when they are based on false beliefs or ignorance of relevant information. In addition, political lying is contrary to democratic ideals - it thwarts the will of the people. Issues to be discussed include theories about the morality lying and deception, attempts to undermine trust in reliable sources of information such as science, misinformation about climate change, vaccinations, and the dangers of tobacco use, disinformation on the internet, historical cases of lying to justify wars, intellectual honesty and ethics of belief and non-belief, and the case of Donald Trump.


PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics - Advanced Topics in Human Rights

Dr. Joy Gordon

This course addresses a variety of topics within human rights.  We’ll start with some texts that point to different approaches in conceptualizing human rights, as well as an overview of the major human rights instruments in international law and global governance.  We’ll look at concepts of rights, and their empirical and Marxist critics; the shift in how torture has been viewed since 9/11; the different ways that gender comes into play within human rights; the thorny problem of how to determine intent in cases of genocide; and what happens when countries claim the right to prosecute human rights violations that took place in other parts of the world.


PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics - International Ethics

Dr. Joy Gordon

This course is intended to give students an overview of the theoretical frameworks for thinking about ethical questions within the international arena, as well as some of the critical issues in this field.  Some would argue that ethics is simply irrelevant in international affairs—that states and non-state actors simply pursue their interests, and that’s all that can be expected of them.  But even in war, there has long been a set of articulated principles about constraints on warfare, and what moral duties are owed even to an enemy in combat.

The twentieth century saw the emergence of institutions of global governance, which addressed ethical violations in warfare, as well as human rights; and which also established means for enforcing international law against states and individuals.  But many have raised questions about their focus and adequacy: are there ways in which international law reflects a gender bias?  Why are economic rights treated as secondary, when the human damage from poverty is far greater than the destruction that is done in warfare, or even genocide?   Should there be measures of accountability that are binding on institutions of global governance themselves?


PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics - Ethics and International Relations

Dr. Joy Gordon

Some would argue that ethics is simply irrelevant in international affairs—that states and non-state actors simply pursue their interests, and that’s all that can be expected of them. But even in war, there has long been a set of articulated principles about constraints on warfare, and what moral duties are owed even to an enemy in combat. The twentieth century saw the emergence of institutions of global governance that addressed ethical violations in warfare, as well as human rights; and which also established means for enforcing international law against states and individuals. But many have raised questions about their focus and adequacy: are there ways in which international law reflects a gender bias? Why are economic rights treated as secondary, when the human damage from poverty is far greater than the destruction that is done in warfare, or even genocide? This course provides an overview of the theoretical frameworks for thinking about ethical questions within the international arena, as well as some of the emerging issues in the areas of human rights, Just War, global governance, feminist critiques of international relations, economic sanctions, humanitarian intervention, and genocide. Readings will be drawn from philosophy, international law, and international relations.


PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics - Ethics and Human Reproduction

Dr. Jennifer Parks

This course explores some contemporary ethical and social policy questions concerning human procreation. Feminist and non-feminist perspectives on these issues will be discussed. Topics we will cover include the following:

  • Are there good (or bad) reasons for procreating?
  • Can there be an obligation to procreate? Or not to procreate?
  • Is Julian Savulescu right in claiming that human beings have a duty of “procreative beneficence”?
  • To what extent are people responsible for their gametes and reproductive behaviour?
  • Should all prospective parents be licensed?
  • What is the moral status of contract pregnancy (“surrogacy”)?
  • Would ectogenesis (gestation in an artificial uterus) be bad for women?

PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics - Feminist Ethics and Social Philosophy

Dr. Jennifer Parks

The course will begin with an introduction to different feminist philosophies. Using Rosemarie Tong's Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction, we will consider approaches such as liberal, radical, Marxist, care ethics, and postmodern feminist theory. We will pair a classic feminist philosophy text or set of articles with each feminist approach so students can appreciate how these frameworks have been used. The course will expose students to some texts that are now considered standard in feminist philosophy. Readings covered in class might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women"
  • Susan Moller Okin's Justice, Gender, and the Family
  • Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex
  • Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice
  • Sarah Ruddick's Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace
  • Margaret Urban Walker's Moral Understandings: A Feminist Study in Ethics

 


PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics

Dr. Thomas J. Regan

This course will explore the topic of what is a "just" society. We will do so through the classic texts of the liberalism/communitarian debate, namely John Rawls'  A Theory of Justice, Robert Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia, Michael Walzer's Spheres of Justice, Michael Sandel's  Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, and conclude with selections from Iris Young's Justice and the Politics of Difference, Martha Nussbaum's Creating Capabilities and Amartya Sen's The Idea of Justice.


PHIL 468: Topics in Ethics - Race Theory

Dr. Jacqueline Scott

In this course we will examine several contemporary arguments within the field of critical race theory. Two major questions that guide this field are: What is race? What values do and/or should we assign to race in our society? The course will be divided into three parts:

  1. The historical roots of contemporary arguments about race
  2. Several contemporary arguments about race
  3. A few of social/political implications of these arguments.