- PHIL 20628: Ethics of Emerging Weapons Technologies
PHIL 20422: Just War Theory
PHIL 20628: Ethics of Emerging Weapons Technologies
Course Description: The landscape of the twenty-first century battlefield is rapidly changing. Contemporary warfare is often far removed from the clash of large, standing armies on the open battlefield. From the United States’ use of “targeted killings” via unmanned drone in Pakistan and Yemen to the deployment of the Stuxnet computer virus designed to target Iran’s nuclear weapons’ program, we already see examples of this new kind of warfare. The future promises that ever more remote possibilities will become reality—entirely autonomous robotic weapon systems are already under deployment in Iraq and Korea, non-lethal electromagnetic and sound-based weapons are under development, and research continues actively on automated, armed vehicles and biologically or robotically enhanced soldiers. The increasing pace of weapons research, however, has been matched by many ethical worries, raised by military leaders, scholars, legislators, journalists, and non-profit and humanitarian groups. This course will begin by exploring the foundations of just war theory—including challenges posed by terrorism—and then explore particular weapons technologies and their associated ethical implications. [This course has been run under different course codes but has the same description; either title has substantial units on both just war theory and the ethics of emerging weapons technologies.]
- PHIL 318: Business Ethics
PHIL 318: Business Ethics
Course Description: The course has four main goals. First, it will provide a general introduction to ethical theory and, more importantly, the tools of ethical decision-making and problem-solving. Second, the course will acquaint students with the generally-accepted ethical standards in the business world. Third, it will give students a chance to think through various positions on several controversial ethical, political, and public policy issues related to the business world. Finally, the course will encourage students to develop an ethical perspective on business activities—a perspective which emphasizes the balancing of economic goals with other important values, including moral values.
- Phil 3340: Biomedical Ethics
Phil 3340: Biomedical Ethics
Course Description: Biomedical ethics is composed of two separate fields: bioethics and medical ethics. Bioethics is the study of the ethics of life (and death), and includes familiar topics such as abortion, cloning, stem cell research, allocation of scarce medical resources, and euthanasia. We shall spend approximately the first two-third of the course on these issues. For the last third of the course, we shall discuss topics in medical ethics, which is concerned with “micro” issues such as the moral underpinnings of doctor-patient relationships as well as “macro” issues such as the structures of medical institutions or the duties that societies have to provide health care for those in need. No previous coursework in philosophy is required for this course and fundamental concepts in moral philosophy (e.g., consequentialism and deontology) will be explained as they become relevant. This is a course on theoretical (as opposed to clinical) bioethics.
Online Course Syllabus (Fall 2008, Summer 2009, Spring 2010, Summer 2010, Fall 2010, Summer 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Summer 2014, Summer 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Summer 2017, Fall 2017)
@ University of Michigan [Phil 160, Moral Principles and Problems/Phil 356, Issues in Bioethics]. Course Syllabus (Fall 2010)
- PHIL 518: Professional Ethics
PHIL 518: Professional Ethics
Course Description: This course explores what distinguishes professionals, both conceptually and ethically. After these general investigations, it focuses on ethical dimensions and dilemmas for five professions in particular: accounting and finance, engineering, journalism, law, and medicine.
- Phil 5700: Environmental Philosophy
Phil 5700: Environmental Philosophy
Course Description: This seminar explores foundational questions in environmental philosophy. We will consider conceptual approaches to the environment, as well as to the relationship between humans and the environment. We will also consider different approaches to protecting the environment, principally between the contrastive approaches of conservation and preservation. Finally, we will consider the philosophical underpinnings of food and agriculture, including foraging and hunting. Primary focus will be given to classic texts, as opposed to contemporary scholarship.
Course Syllabus (Spring 2017)
- Phil 5700: Ethics of War
Phil 5700: Ethics of War
Course Description: There has been a long, intellectual tradition in thinking about the moral justification of war, ranging at least from Thomas Aquinas’s writings in the 13th century to Michael Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars to contemporary work by Jeff McMahan and others. The tradition draws distinctions between the justice of war itself (jus ad bellum), restrictions on our conduct within war (jus in bello), and our obligations following the conclusion of war (jus post bellum). The contemporary advent of terrorism arguably challenges central tenets of this just war tradition, replacing the doctrine of preemption with that of prevention, blurring the distinction between civilians and combatants, accelerating both the speed and potential damage of attacks, and so on. How, if at all, should these features of terrorism lead to a revision of just war principles?
Course Syllabus (Spring 2014)
@ University of Michigan [Phil 430: Topics in Ethics: Ethics of War]. Course Syllabus (Fall 2010)
@ University of Wyoming [Pols 4710]. Course Syllabus (Fall 2016)
- Phil 6000: War, Terrorism, and Torture
Phil 6000: War, Terrorism, and Torture
Course Description: There has been a long, intellectual tradition in thinking about the moral justification of war, ranging at least from Thomas Aquinas’s writings in the 13th century to Michael Walzer’s contemporary classic, Just and Unjust Wars. The contemporary advent of terrorism arguably challenges central tenets of the just war tradition, replacing the doctrine of preemption with that of prevention, blurring the distinction between civilians and combatants, accelerating both the speed and potential damage of attacks, and so on. How, if at all, should these features of terrorism lead to a revision of just war principles?
In the war on terror, much controversy has emerged over the use of torture. The Third Geneva Convention protects prisoners of war against torture, but there are at least two ways around this convention: either by denying that it applies or else conceiving of torture in such a way that hostile measures nevertheless fall short of it. Should it apply? And what is torture? Independently of the historical and legal status of torture, we can ask whether it could be morally justified. In particular, imagine that the torture of a terrorist will reveal actionable intelligence that is necessary for the protection of innocents. If so, is torture permissible? Regardless, are such scenarios anything other than philosophical fiction?
Course Syllabus (Spring 2009)