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ETHICSOC 136R: Introduction to Global Justice (INTNLREL 136R, PHIL 76, POLISCI 136R, POLISCI 336)

This course provides an overview of core ethical problems in international politics, with special emphasis on the question of what demands justice imposes on institutions and agents acting in a global context. The course is divided into three sections. The first investigates the content of global justice, and comprises of readings from contemporary political theorists and philosophers who write within the liberal contractualist, utilitarian, cosmopolitan, and nationalist traditions. The second part of the course looks at the obligations which global justice generates in relation to a series of real-world issues of international concern: global poverty, human rights, natural resources, climate change, migration, and the well-being of women.. The final section of the course asks whether a democratic international order is necessary for global justice to be realized.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 145: The Ethics of Migration

How should states treat immigrants and would-be immigrants? On what grounds can immigration be justly restricted, and through what means? This module engages with these complex questions by offering a broad overview of key issues in the ethics of migration and their relation to public policy. Guided by the tools of contemporary political philosophy, you will reflect closely upon a series of pressing issues including the basis of the state¿s right to exclude non-citizens, the prospect of open borders and their tensions with egalitarian justice, the human right to free movement, and the rights of refugees and undocumented migrants.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Lim, D. (PI)

ETHICSOC 155: The Ethics And Politics of Effective Altruism

What should I do? How should I live? These are the central questions that practical ethics seeks to answer. "Effective altruism" (EA), a growing school of thought and popular social movement, offers a clear and attractive response. It holds that we should try to do the best that we can for the world, and that we should do so on the basis of careful reasoning and reliable evidence. In a short amount of time, effective altruism has become a popular theoretical framework for thinking about our duties to others, and for navigating difficult practical questions. How much do I owe to others? To whom do I have obligations? How should I choose amongst different strategies for discharging these obligations? The course examines the theoretical assumptions behind effective altruism, its internal debates, external criticisms, and rival alternatives. We explore these questions in part by focusing on certain case studies that highlight different elements of the EA approach: organ donation, career choice, animal treatment, and global poverty. Guest lecturers, representing prominent advocates and critics of effective altruism, may also be added to the schedule, pending availability.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 170: Ethical Theory (PHIL 170, PHIL 270)

How should we live our lives? Should you love your neighbour as yourself? Should you be digging wells rather than taking philosophy classes? Is taxation just? What obligations do we have to the not-yet-born, and to the dead? And says who? Are there really any answers to these questions? If so, what explains why they are one way rather than another? The will of God? Perhaps we need rules to ensure mutual benefits. But then, can I break them if no-one will find out? Can it be appropriate to blame you for doing something that you thought was the right thing to do (perhaps rejecting a blood transfusion)? Or to praise you for doing something you thought was the wrong thing to do (like Huck Finn)? By the end of this semester, you will be developing answers to these questions and many more.nnA more challenging version of Phil 2 designed primarily for juniors and seniors (may also be appropriate for some freshmen and sophomores - contact professor). Fulfills the Ethical Reasoning requirement. Graduate section (270) will include supplemental readings and discussion, geared for graduate students new to moral philosophy, as well as those with some background who would like more.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 171: Justice (PHIL 171, POLISCI 103, POLISCI 336S, PUBLPOL 103C, PUBLPOL 307)

Focus is on the ideal of a just society, and the place of liberty and equality in it, in light of contemporary theories of justice and political controversies. Topics include financing schools and elections, regulating markets, discriminating against people with disabilities, and enforcing sexual morality. Counts as Writing in the Major for PoliSci majors.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 173: Introduction to Feminist Philosophy (PHIL 90R)

If feminism is a political practice aimed at ending the patriarchy, what is the point of feminist philosophy? This course provides an introduction to feminist philosophy by exploring how important theoretical questions around sex and gender bear on practical ethical and political debates. The first part of the course will examine some of the broader theoretical approaches in feminist philosophy, including: the metaphysics of gender, standpoint epistemology, and feminist critiques of liberal political philosophy. Questions will include: how should we understand the category `woman¿? How does gender intersect with other axes of oppression? Does experience of gendered oppression give one better knowledge of social reality? Are political liberalism and capitalism compatible with feminism? The second part of the course will address more specific ethical and political topics within feminist philosophy, such as: objectification, pornography, consent, markets in women¿s sexual and reproductive labor, and the institution of marriage.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 174A: Moral Limits of the Market (PHIL 174A, PHIL 274A, POLISCI 135P)

Morally controversial uses of markets and market reasoning in areas such as organ sales, procreation, education, and child labor. Would a market for organ donation make saving lives more efficient; if it did, would it thereby be justified? Should a nation be permitted to buy the right to pollute? Readings include Walzer, Arrow, Rawls, Sen, Frey, Titmuss, and empirical cases.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2013 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 174X: Universal Basic Income: the philosophy behind the proposal (ETHICSOC 274X, PHIL 174B, PHIL 274B, POLISCI 338)

The past three decades have seen the elaboration of a vast body of literature on unconditional basic income a radical policy proposal Philippe Van Parijs referred to as a disarmingly simple idea. It consists of a monthly cash allowance given to all citizens, regardless of personal desert and without means test to provide them with a standard of living above the poverty line. The seminar will seek to engage students in normative debates in political theory (feminism, liberalism, republicanism, communism, libertarianism, etc.) by appealing to the concrete example of basic income. It will allow students to learn a great deal about a policy that is gaining tremendous currency in academic and public debates, while discussing and learning about prominent political theorists - many of whom have written against or for basic income at one point in their career.nnThe seminar is open to undergraduate and graduate students in all departments. There are no pre-requisites. We will ask questions such more »
The past three decades have seen the elaboration of a vast body of literature on unconditional basic income a radical policy proposal Philippe Van Parijs referred to as a disarmingly simple idea. It consists of a monthly cash allowance given to all citizens, regardless of personal desert and without means test to provide them with a standard of living above the poverty line. The seminar will seek to engage students in normative debates in political theory (feminism, liberalism, republicanism, communism, libertarianism, etc.) by appealing to the concrete example of basic income. It will allow students to learn a great deal about a policy that is gaining tremendous currency in academic and public debates, while discussing and learning about prominent political theorists - many of whom have written against or for basic income at one point in their career.nnThe seminar is open to undergraduate and graduate students in all departments. There are no pre-requisites. We will ask questions such as: is giving people cash no strings attached desirable and just? Would basic income promote a more gender equal society through the remuneration of care-work, or would it risks further entrenching the position of women as care-givers? Would alternative policies be more successful (such as the job guarantees, stakeholder grants or a negative income tax)? How can we test out basic income? What makes for a reliable and ethical basic income pilot? Students in Politics, Philosophy, Public Policy, Social Work, and Sociology should find most of those questions relevant to their interests. Some discussions on how to fund basic income, on the macro-economic implications of basic income and on the existing pilots projects (in Finland, Namibia, India, Canada and the US) may be of interest to Economists; while our readings on the impact of new technologies and artificial intelligence on the future of work and whether a basic income could be a solution, are likely to be on interest to computer scientists and engineers. By the end of the class, students will have an in depth knowledge of the policy and will have developed skills in the normative analysis of public policy. They will be able to deploy those critical and analytical skills to assess a broad range of other policies.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 178M: Introduction to Environmental Ethics (ETHICSOC 278M, PHIL 178M, PHIL 278M, POLISCI 134L)

How should human beings relate to the natural world? Do we have moral obligations toward non-human animals and other parts of nature? And what do we owe to other human beings, including future generations, with respect to the environment? The first part of this course will examine such questions in light of some of our current ethical theories: considering what those theories suggest regarding the extent and nature of our environmental obligations; and also whether reflection on such obligations can prove informative about the adequacy of our ethical theories. In the second part of the course, we will use the tools that we have acquired to tackle various ethical questions that confront us in our dealings with the natural world, looking at subjects such as: animal rights; conservation; economic approaches to the environment; access to and control over natural resources; environmental justice and pollution; climate change; technology and the environment; and environmental activism.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2015 | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ETHICSOC 180M: The Ethics and Politics of Collective Action (PHIL 73, POLISCI 131A, PUBLPOL 304A)

Collective action problems arise when actions that are individually rational give rise to results that are collectively irrational. Scholars have used such a framework to shed light on various political phenomena such as revolutions, civil disobedience, voting, climate change, and the funding of social services. We examine their findings and probe the theoretical foundations of their approach. What does this way of thinking about politics bring into focus, and what does it leave out? What role do institutions play in resolving collective action problems? And what if the required institutions are absent? Can we, as individuals, be required to cooperate even if we expect that others may not play their part? Readings drawn from philosophy, political science, economics, and sociology.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2016 | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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