Classes

    Human Trafficking, Slavery and Abolition in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1115)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    Why do slavery, human trafficking and other forms of servitude thrive today globally, including the USA, and what can we do about it?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Orlando Patterson

    We often think of slavery as being a dark chapter in our past, but this is a tragic oversimplification. What defines slavery in the modern world, and what are the moral, political and social implications of its continued existence? As we explore its underpinnings, we discover that all of us may be in some way complicit in its survival.... Read more about Human Trafficking, Slavery and Abolition in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1115)

    Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency (Gen Ed 1064)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    Can we reconcile the scientific 'brain as a machine' view with our strong experience of moral agency?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with textScience & Technology in Society icon with text

    Steven Hyman

    Advances in brain science have the potential to diminish many forms of human suffering and disability that are rooted in disordered brain function. But what are the ethical implications involved in altering the structure and function of human brains? What’s at stake when we have the ability to alter a person’s narrative identity, create brain-computer interfaces, and manipulate social and moral emotion? In this course, you will ask and attempt to answer these questions, and discuss the implications of mechanistic explanations of decision-making and action for widely-held concepts of moral agency and legal culpability.... Read more about Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency (Gen Ed 1064)

    Ignorance, Lies, Hogwash, and Humbug (Gen Ed 1023)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    Fake news, echo chambers, conspiracies, propaganda, information pollution--what are these and other features of the post truth era and how can we successfully navigate them?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Christopher Robichaud

    Time magazine cover - "Is Truth Dead?"

    Is truth dead? Time Magazine posed this question in bold red print on its April 3, 2017 cover. It’s a surprising concern, given that information of every sort imaginable is merely a click away on our phones, access to educational resources is robust for both traditional students and online learners, and direct interaction with public figures is more unencumbered than ever before with the help of social networks.... Read more about Ignorance, Lies, Hogwash, and Humbug (Gen Ed 1023)

    Res Publica: A History of Representative Government (Gen Ed 1032)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    What is a democratic republic, and can such a regime — one that trusts citizens to capably choose and monitor those in power, and one that trusts those in power to restrain themselves and each other while attending to the public good — survive and protect us from tyranny?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Daniel Carpenter

    “A republic, if you can keep it.”  So did Benjamin Franklin characterize his hopes for American government. What did Franklin and others mean by republic, and why did he and so many others worry that it might be something hard to hold onto? This course will give you the theoretical basis and historical evolution of republics so that you can understand the American system of a democratic republic, now spread widely around the planet even as it is considered under threat.... Read more about Res Publica: A History of Representative Government (Gen Ed 1032)

    Economic Justice (Gen Ed 1121)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    How can we understand and make progress on disagreements about matters of economic and racial justice that are divisive to the point of making societies fall apart?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Mathias Risse

    Which is more just: capitalism or socialism? And how does that question intersect with racial justice? Capitalism has long reigned as the ideological solution to organizing society, but it is also clear that the pursuit of seemingly boundless material gain for some comes at the expense of others.... Read more about Economic Justice (Gen Ed 1121)

    The Philosopher and the Tyrant (Gen Ed 1030)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    In a time of rising authoritarianism and polarized debate, what role can the love of wisdom have in tempering the pursuit of power?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    David Damrosch

    Philosophers and politicians alike struggle to set the terms for living a good life in a world of conflict. Rulers seek guidance from their counselors, and philosophers have often dreamed of wielding real-world influence. Reading a series of masterpieces of philosophical thought and literary expression, we will examine some striking cases of relations between the pursuit of wisdom and the pursuit of power, from the extremes of conflict (the executions of Socrates, Han Fei, Jesus, Sir Thomas More) to the opposite dream of the philosopher king.... Read more about The Philosopher and the Tyrant (Gen Ed 1030)

    Moral Inquiry in the Novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (Gen Ed 1059)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    How can the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky help us think differently about everyday moral dilemmas that are often seen as the prerogative of religion, politics, or philosophy?
     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Justin Weir

    This course considers how Tolstoy and Dostoevsky take up moral inquiry in their fiction, introduces students to philosophical texts that informed their major fiction, and asks why the novel as a literary genre may be a good forum for the discussion of ethics.... Read more about Moral Inquiry in the Novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (Gen Ed 1059)