Fall 2018 - PHIL 120W D100

Moral Problems (3)

Class Number: 9376

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SSCC 9001, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 10, 2018
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    GYM CENTRAL, Burnaby



A critical examination of a range of questions and problems we confront as moral agents, such as: the nature and scope of our moral responsibilities, the source of our moral and civil rights, and the role of moral emotions, like resentment, love and forgiveness. Students with credit for PHIL 120 may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


This course provides an introduction to moral philosophy through an examination of various moral, legal, and political controversies.  Topics may include:

  • Abortion
  • Pornography
  • Racial Profiling
  • Indigenous Land Claims
  • Compensation for Historical Injustice
  • Famine Relief and Global Justice
  • Immigration and Refugees
  • Recreational Drug Use
  • Culpability for Unintended Harms
Students are expected to contribute to discussion in tutorials, and will be required to read 1 to 2 articles or chapters per week.


The aim of this course is for students to be able to:

  • Identify an author’s main thesis and the supporting argument for that thesis;
  • Engage with those arguments in a critical and respectful manner, both in writing and in discussion with peers;
  • Construct arguments in support one’s own view;
  • Appreciate and reflect on the moral foundations of the law.
PHIL 120W may be applied towards the Certificate in Liberal Arts, the Writing Requirement, and the Breadth-Humanities Requirement.

This course is excellent preparation for law school, public policy degrees, business school, or for anyone intending to participate in public policy debates.

This course is strongly recommended for students intending to pursue the Law and Philosophy concentration (either major or minor) or the Certificate in Ethics.


  • Participation (via i>clickers in lecture) 5%
  • Two short essays (500-750 words) - 20% each 40%
  • One longer essay (1200 words) 25%
  • Final Exam (multiple choice and short-answer) 30%





Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics, Cohen and Wellman (Eds.) (available in both print and ebook) (978-1-118-47939-1)

Articles posted on Canvas

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html