Fall 2021 - PHIL 120W D100

Moral and Legal Problems (3)

Class Number: 7471

Delivery Method: In Person

Overview

  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    RCB IMAGTH, Burnaby

Description

CALENDAR DESCRIPTION:

A critical examination of a range of moral and legal issues we confront in our dealings with the state and our fellow human beings, such as: Is it wrong to break the law? Should pornography and recreational drugs be illegal? Do animals have rights? Is there a duty to admit immigrants? Are there duties to the world's poor? Are indigenous peoples owed reparations? Students with credit for PHIL 120 may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.

COURSE DETAILS:

This course offers an introduction to contemporary moral problems. We begin by looking at two controversial contemporary moral issues: abortion and meat-eating. Here, we consider some of the strongest arguments in favour and against these practices. Our goal is to arrive at reasoned positions on each issue by critically evaluating these arguments. Along the way, we consider the nature of morality, particularly whether it is objective, in some sense of the term, or subjective, in some sense of the term. In the second part of the course, we shift gears and move on to consider various philosophical puzzles that undermine seemingly reasonable answers to three central questions in population ethics: 1) – Is it ever morally permissible to sacrifice the lives of a few for the sake of the many? 2) – Do we have any obligation to future generations? 3) – How many people should there be? Here, our primary goal is not to arrive at definitive solutions to these puzzles. Rather, the aim is to understand these puzzles and appreciate why they pose problems in population ethics. No prior familiarity with philosophy is required for this course.

COURSE-LEVEL EDUCATIONAL GOALS:

PHIL 120W may be applied towards the Writing Requirement, and the Breadth-Humanities Requirement. The course is strongly recommended for students intending to pursue a Philosophy Major or Minor (especially with the Law and Philosophy concentration), or the Certificate in Ethics.

By the end of the course, students should be able to: 

  • Identify and reconstruct arguments in favour and against controversial views in moral philosophy
  • Come to reasoned positions on some of these issues
  • Understand some philosophical puzzles in moral theory
  • Express their views and positions, both orally and in writing
  • Engage in respectful philosophical debates with their peers

Videos: Why Study Philosophy? and Meet Our Professors!

Grading

  • 2 short papers with revisions (750 words each, and worth 15%) 30%
  • Final paper with no revision (1500 words) 30%
  • Final exam (multiple choice and short answers) 30%
  • Participation (in tutorial) 10%

NOTES:

Lecture and tutorial delivery: in person. 

REQUIREMENTS:

Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.

Materials

REQUIRED READING:

All readings will be made freely available online.


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

New elective grade policy : P/CR/NC, pilot project for Spring/Summer/Fall 2021. List of exclusions for the new policy. Specifically for Philosophy: 

  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any requirement for a major, joint major, honours, or minor in Philosophy (with the exception of Honours tutorials).
  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any prerequisite requirement for any PHIL course.
  • Students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any requirement for the Ethics Certificate, or the Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate.
  • Philosophy Majors and Honours students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any WQB requirement.

Registrar Notes:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: YOUR WORK, YOUR SUCCESS

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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

TEACHING AT SFU IN FALL 2021

Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.