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PHIL 5N: The Art of Living

Whether we realize it or not, all of us are forced to make a fundamental choice: by deciding what is most valuable to us, we decide how we are going to live our life. We may opt for a life of reason and knowledge; one of faith and discipline; one of nature and freedom; one of community and altruism; or one of originality and style.We may even choose to live our lives as though they were works of art. In every case, hard work is required: our lives are not just given to us, but need to be made. To live well is, in fact, to practice an art of living. Where, however, do such ideals come from? How do we adopt and defend them? What is required to put them into practice? What do we do when they come into conflict with one another? And what role do great works of art play in all this? "The Art of Living" will explore the various ways in which it is possible to live well and beautifully, what it takes to implement them, and what happens when they come under pressure from inside and out.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2014 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 8N: Free Will and Responsibility

In what sense are we, or might we be free agents? Is our freedom compatible with our being fully a part of the same natural, causal order that includes other physical and biological systems? What assumptions about freedom do we make when we hold people accountable morally and/or legally? When we hold people accountable, and so responsible, can we also see them as part of the natural, causal order? Or is there a deep incompatibility between these two ways of understanding ourselves? What assumptions about our freedom do we make when we deliberate about what to do? Are these assumptions in conflict with seeing ourselves as part of the natural, causal order?nWe will explore these and related questions primarily by way of careful study of recent and contemporary philosophical research on these matters.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2016 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

PHIL 14N: Belief and the Will

Preference to freshmen. Is there anything wrong with believing something without evidence? Is it possible? The nature and ethics of belief, and belief's relation to evidence and truth. How much control do believers have over their belief?
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2014 | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

PHIL 15N: Freedom, Community, and Morality

Preference to freshmen. Does the freedom of the individual conflict with the demands of human community and morality? Or, as some philosophers have maintained, does the freedom of the individual find its highest expression in a moral community of other human beings? Readings include Camus, Mill, Rousseau, and Kant.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2014 | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

PHIL 21N: Ethics of Sports (ETHICSOC 21N)

This seminar will be focused on the ethical challenges that are encountered in sport. We will focus on the moral and political issues that affect the world of sport and which athletes, coaches, sports commentators and fans are faced with. For instance, we will ask questions such as: what is a fair game (the ethics of effort, merit, success)? Is it ethical to train people to use violence (the ethics of martial arts)? Are divisions by gender categories justified and what should we think of gender testing? Is the use of animals in sport ever justified? Which forms of performance enhancements are acceptable in sport (the ethics of drug use and enhancements through technologies)? Should we ban sports that damage the players¿ health? Does society owe social support to people who hurt themselves while practicing extreme sports? nnThe class will be structured around small group discussions and exercises as well as brief lectures to introduce key moral and political concepts (such as fairness, more »
This seminar will be focused on the ethical challenges that are encountered in sport. We will focus on the moral and political issues that affect the world of sport and which athletes, coaches, sports commentators and fans are faced with. For instance, we will ask questions such as: what is a fair game (the ethics of effort, merit, success)? Is it ethical to train people to use violence (the ethics of martial arts)? Are divisions by gender categories justified and what should we think of gender testing? Is the use of animals in sport ever justified? Which forms of performance enhancements are acceptable in sport (the ethics of drug use and enhancements through technologies)? Should we ban sports that damage the players¿ health? Does society owe social support to people who hurt themselves while practicing extreme sports? nnThe class will be structured around small group discussions and exercises as well as brief lectures to introduce key moral and political concepts (such as fairness, equality, freedom, justice, exploitation, etc.). I will also bring guests speakers who are involved in a sport activity at Stanford or who have worked on sports as part of their academic careers. By the end of the seminar, students will have a good understanding of the various ethical challenges that surround the world of sport. They will be able to critically discuss sport activities, norms, modes of assessments and policies (on campus and beyond). They will also be prepared to apply the critical ethical thinking that they will have deployed onto other topics than sports. They will have been introduced to the normative approach to social issues, which consists in asking how things should be rather than describing how things are. They will be prepared to take more advanced classes in ethics, political theory, as well as moral and political philosophy.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2017 | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

PHIL 72: Contemporary Moral Problems (ETHICSOC 185M, POLISCI 134P)

Conflict is a natural part of human life. As human beings we represent a rich diversity of conflicting personalities, preferences, experiences, needs, and moral viewpoints. How are we to resolve or otherwise address these conflicts in a way fair to all parties? In this course, we will consider the question as it arises across various domains of human life, beginning with the classroom. What are we to do when a set of ideas expressed in the classroom offends, threatens, or silences certain of its members? What is it for a classroom to be safe? What is it for a classroom to be just? We will then move from the classroom to the family, considering a difficult set of questions about how we are to square the autonomy rights of children, elderly parents, and the mentally ill with our desire as family members to keep them safe. Finally, we will turn to the conflicts of citizenship in a liberal democratic society in which the burdens and benefits of citizenship have not always been fairly distributed. We will consider, among others, the question of whether or not civil disobedience is ever morally permissible, of whether there is a right to healthcare, and of whether or not some citizens are owed reparations for past injustices.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

PHIL 73: The Ethics and Politics of Collective Action (ETHICSOC 180M, 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

PHIL 74A: Ethics in a Human Life (ETHICSOC 74, HUMBIO 74)

Ethical questions pervade a human life from before a person is conceived until after she dies, and at every point in between. This course raises a series of ethical questions, following along the path of a person's life - questions that arise before, during, and after she lives it. We will explore distinctive questions that a life presents at each of several familiar stages: prior to birth, childhood, adulthood, death, and even beyond. We will consider how some philosophers have tried to answer these questions, and we will think about how answering them might help us form a better understanding of the ethical shape of a human life as a whole.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 76: Introduction to Global Justice (ETHICSOC 136R, INTNLREL 136R, 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. It 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 looks at the obligations which global justice generates in relation to a series of real-world issues of international concern: global poverty, human rights, poverty and development, climate change and natural resources, international migration, and the well-being of women. The final section 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
Instructors: Niker, F. (PI)

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

If feminism is a political practice aimed at ending 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 questions in feminist philosophy, including: the metaphysics of gender, the demands of intersectionality, and feminist critiques of capitalism and liberalism. Questions will include: How should we understand the category `woman¿? How does gender intersect with other axes of oppression? Is capitalism inherently patriarchal? The second part of the course will address more applied topics of ethical and political debate, 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
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