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ETHICSOC 135R: The Ethics of Democratic Citizenship (POLISCI 135D)

We usually think about democratic citizenship in terms of rights and opportunities, but are these benefits of democracy accompanied by special obligations? Do citizens of a democracy have an obligation to take an interest in politics and to actively influence political decision making? How should citizens respond when a democracy¿s laws become especially burdensome? Do citizens of a democracy have a special obligation to obey the law? In this course, we will read classical and contemporary political philosophy including Plato's Crito and King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to explore how political thinkers have understood and argued for the ethics of citizenship. Students in this course will draw on these materials to construct their own arguments, and to identify and assess implicit appeals to the ethics of citizenship in popular culture and contemporary public discourse, from The Simpsons to President Obama's speeches.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2016 | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

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. 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)

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: not given this year, last offered Winter 2018 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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: not given this year, last offered Spring 2018 | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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

This course serves as a rigorous introduction to moral philosophy for students with little or no background. We will examine ideas from four important figures in moral thought: Plato, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. Each of these philosophers played an integral role in the development of moral philosophy, because each offers thoughtful, compelling answers to some of the discipline¿s most central questions. These questions include: What is involved in being a good person or living a good life? What should we value, and why? How are we motivated by morality? How (if at all) is morality a matter of what is customary or conventional? How (much) do the consequences of our actions matter? Importantly, this course is not only about learning what others have thought about the answers to these (and related) questions. By considering and criticizing the ideas and arguments of these philosophers, the aim is to cultivate our own ability to think systematically, rationally, and reflectively, and to make up our own minds about how to answer these kinds of questions.
Terms: Aut | 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. Political Science majors taking this course to fulfill the WIM requirement should enroll in POLISCI 103.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ETHICSOC 172: History of Modern Moral Philosophy (PHIL 172, PHIL 272)

A critical exploration of some of the main forms of systematic moral theorizing in Western philosophy from Hobbes onward and their roots in ancient ethical thought. Prerequistes are some prior familiarity with utilitarianism and Kantian ethics and a demonstrated interest in philosophy.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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

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

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 174B: Universal Basic Income: the philosophy behind the proposal (ETHICSOC 274B, 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.nnnThe seminar is open to undergraduate and graduate students in all departments. There are no pre-requisites. We will ask questions suc 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.nnnThe 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: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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