Suggestions of Contemporary Ethical Problems

Dear readers, in the fall, I’ll be teaching my 24th section of Intro to Ethics. Every semester, I slightly tweak the course. Every four semesters, I do a major overhaul. For this coming fall, I’ll be keeping the structure: 25% meta-ethics, 25% normative ethics, and 50% applied ethics. The revision will be in terms of content in the applied ethics section. What topics do you think are worthwhile to cover in 2016, e.g., digital privacy (e.g., Apple/FBI), drones, free speech on campus, Gamergate, etc.? (One condition: please do not suggest the usual suspects, e.g., abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, etc.) Please include suggestions of possible texts to be assigned. Below is a recent course schedule based on Cahn’s Exploring Ethics. I’m asking for suggestions on topics that are not listed in the schedule.

Introduction to Ethics – Course Schedule F15

5 thoughts on “Suggestions of Contemporary Ethical Problems

  1. This may not exactly fill your request but it is an issue that I have given some thought to and find little about it in the media. Maybe you can find an appropriate ethical topic in here:

    Should we be demonizing terrorists as we have done with other enemies in other wars? Might a normal human changing into a suicide robot and willfully killing himself and hapless innocents be a normal psychological response to certain social environments? If so then might any of us respond in the same way under similar circumstances?

  2. The Regan and Cohen are a bit dated. No one makes an inherent value or “subject-of-a-life” argument anymore. At least no one I know of. Tomorrow I’m teaching: Kymlicka, Will and Sue Donaldson. “Animals and the Frontier of Citizenship.” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies No. 34 (2014): 201–19. Although Kymlicka and Donaldson intentionally situation the problem in a political register rather than an ethical one (correctly) presupposing that the ethical argument has been made. Selections from Francione & Garner’s “The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?” would work too. Other than Caruthers and Cohen, I don’t think anyone seriously argues the case in the negative anymore. Perhaps if James is out there, he’ll something to say, too.

  3. Sure. I’m familiar with the texts you recommend and use them in my Bioethics and Philosophy, Nature, and the Environment courses. However, I use Regan/Cohen because they’re in the anthology–no other reason. I’m asking, though, for advice about other topics, not about what has been done in the past.

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