Morality and Moral Controversies, Coe College (Fall 2018)
For most of us, morality is something fundamental and necessary to our daily lives. Despite its familiarity on a personal, affective level, it’s likely that we would have trouble articulating our answers to philosophical questions such as, what’s good in life? What kinds of actions count as right and wrong? Is morality subjective or objective? Fortunately, moral philosophers (or ethicists) have spent a good deal of time attempting to make sense of morality and some of the questions just mentioned. During the first half of this class this class we will be attempting to answer some of these questions. In the second half of the class, we will use our newfound knowledge of ethical theories and concepts to explore and evaluate real-life ethical issues such as our treatment of animals, genetic selection technology, affirmative action, prostitution, and more.
Introduction to Western Philosophy: Modern, University of Colorado Boulder (Spring 2018)
This course will familiarize you with the thinkers, ideas, and controversies that have shaped the Western world for the last five hundred years. The thinkers we will read and discuss include René Descartes, John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. The questions that we will investigate include: Do we have knowledge of the world and, if so, how do we acquire it? What is the nature of matter? What is the nature of mind and how does it relate to matter? What is the nature of personal identity?
Introduction to Ethics, University of Colorado Boulder (Spring 2018)
For most of us, morality is something fundamental and necessary to our daily lives. Despite its familiarity on a personal, affective level, it’s likely that we would have trouble articulating our answers to questions like, what’s good in life? What rules or principles must we follow to be good people? How do we even know what kinds of actions count as right and wrong? Fortunately, moral philosophers (or ethicists) have spent a good deal of time attempting to make sense of morality and some of the questions just mentioned. In this class, we will be exploring questions surrounding three important areas of ethics: Value Theory – What sorts of things make our lives go well and are ultimately and intrinsically good for us to get more of? Normative Ethics –What general principles or rules should we follow in deciding how to act and live? Applied Ethics – How ought we respond to the actual, ethically-fraught issues that confront us in contemporary society?
Bioethics, University of Colorado Boulder (Fall 2017)
This course considers some of the most pressing and cutting-edge questions in contemporary bioethics. Among these issues include physician-assisted suicide, the concept of health and disability, allocating scarce medical resources, creating children with specific genetic traits, plus more.
Introduction to Ancient Philosophy, University of Colorado Boulder (Fall 2017)
This course introduces students to philosophy by focusing on the Ancient period in the Western tradition. Key figures in this period include Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Presocratics, and the Stoics. The course will cover five different topics from the ancient period: (1) Science, Religion, and Philosophy, (2) Metaphysics, (3) Knowledge, (4) Fate, Freedom, and Responsibility, and (5) The Good Life.
Philosophy and Society (Applied Ethics), University of Colorado Boulder, (Fall 2015)
This is a philosophy class about real-world ethical problems. These are problems that pervade everyday life and that inform public policy decisions that affect us all. As such, we will be discussing and debating various controversial moral issues, including arguments about the morality of abortion, using non-human animals for food, affirmative action, prostitution, climate change, and more. In doing so, we will be looking at the methodology that applied ethicists use in constructing and evaluating arguments. In addition, we will also be looking at how major normative theories in ethics help inform applied ethical questions.
Introduction to Bioethics, University of Colorado Boulder (Spring 2017)
Bioethics, as it is practiced today, is an exciting and multifaceted interdisciplinary field. This class is designed to familiarize students with some of the more lively contemporary debates in bioethics. Since bioethical issues can take a variety of forms, we will be taking a more philosophical approach by considering questions such as: How do we determine whether a person is really dead? How should we allocate scarce resources such as organs? Should we be able to sell our organs for money? Is it wrong to genetically screen a child for their sex and physical traits? Is it wrong to have children? Is abortion wrong? Is experimenting with animals wrong? Plus more.
Introduction to Philosophy, University of Colorado Boulder (Spring 2016 + Summer 2017)
In this introductory course, we will look at some major topics in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, and their intersection. We will first explore fundamental metaphysical questions about reality: Are there any reasons to believe God exists? If God exists and is all-good, then why is there so much evil in the world? Then we will turn to metaphysical questions about ourselves: What are we? Do we have souls? Can really know anything? Finally, we will confront fundamental questions in ethics: How should we act? Does morality depend on religion? How do we determine right from wrong? We will conclude by discussing some applied ethical questions about the moral status of abortion and eating animals for food.