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Descriptions for ETHS 390 - Spring 2017

ETHS 390-01A:  Political Philosophy
Charles Wright
This course examines the relation between moral and political values and goods. Consideration of such questions as whether politics can be neutral among competing conceptions of morality, the nature, justification, and limits of political authority and whether politicians should be held to different moral standards from the rest of us.

ETHS 390-02A:  Political Philosophy
Charles Wright
This course examines the relation between moral and political values and goods. Consideration of such questions as whether politics can be neutral among competing conceptions of morality, the nature, justification, and limits of political authority and whether politicians should be held to different moral standards from the rest of us.

ETHS 390-03A:  Happiness Is.....
Rodger Narloch
When people are asked what they want in life, a common response is that they just want to be happy.  But what is happiness and how do we attain it?  In this course, we will discuss a variety of different perspectives on these questions.  We will address what self-focused happiness might look like, but then transition to questions of how an individual's happiness relates to the happiness of others (and which others?).  Furthermore, we will discuss what it means to be morally good and the extent to which being good is a necessary component in being happy.  Finally, we will think about the nature of choices and decision making, especially as they relate to the formation of one's identity and vocation or path in life.  Ultimately, students will have to propose their own educated model or theory of happiness and articulate its implications for how they plan to live their lives.  These topics will be covered through extensive class discussion based on significant amounts of writing in response to readings from philosophical, psychological, as well as Catholic and Benedictine perspectives.

ETHS 390-04A:  Business Ethics
Joseph DesJardins
This course will examine ethical and social issues associated with contemporary American business. Responsibilities of businesses to employees, consumers and the society at large will be considered. Questions of individual moral responsibility and questions of social justice and public policy will be addressed. Students will examine these issues from the point of view of a variety of stakeholders: business management, employees, investors, consumers, and citizens. Prerequisite: students are strongly encouraged to have taken at least one previous course in management, accounting, philosophy, or economics.

ETHS 390-05A: Building Fences? Understanding War Refugees, Immigration and National Identity
Marina Martin
This course discusses immigration through the ethical problems it raises and the various forms of social tragedies and moral abuses that come with it in modern society.  Thousands of immigrants lose their lives when trying to reach their destiny abroad.  Do all people have a right to emigrate?  Is the identity and safety of a given nation threatened by the flow of immigrants?  Should nations adopt John Lennon's dream "Imagine all the people sharing all the world?"  Students will be exposed to a selection of readings, films and documentaries dealing with moral issues raised by cultural and ethnic differences.   

ETHS 390-06A:  Happiness Is.....
Rodger Narloch
When people are asked what they want in life, a common response is that they just want to be happy.  But what is happiness and how do we attain it?  In this course, we will discuss a variety of different perspectives on these questions.  We will address what self-focused happiness might look like, but then transition to questions of how an individual's happiness relates to the happiness of others (and which others?).  Furthermore, we will discuss what it means to be morally good and the extent to which being good is a necessary component in being happy.  Finally, we will think about the nature of choices and decision making, especially as they relate to the formation of one's identity and vocation or path in life.  Ultimately, students will have to propose their own educated model or theory of happiness and articulate its implications for how they plan to live their lives.  These topics will be covered through extensive class discussion based on significant amounts of writing in response to readings from philosophical, psychological, as well as Catholic and Benedictine perspectives.

ETHS 390-07A:  Contemporary Moral Problems:  Lies, Sex, and Work
Kari-Shane Zimmerman
This course attends to contemporary moral problems in the following areas: lies, sex, and work. In exploring these "problem areas" of morality, it also seeks to attend to connections between them and to question whether allowing problems to drive our moral reflection is the best approach when attempting to make good moral judgments. In addition, the course will attend to the relationship between persons, virtues, and acts and between areas of morality typically considered "personal" and those considered to be "social." The approach will be interdisciplinary, but we will accent Christian ethical approaches in the areas of lying, work, and sexuality. Also, additional course goals include (but are not limited to) enhancing students' ability to read texts closely, both critically and charitably, as well as improving students' ability to express themselves both orally and in writing.

ETHS 390-08A:  Others
Anthony Cunningham
We share our lives by both necessity and design with others.  Born utterly dependent, we rely entirely upon the care and kindness of others for our very survival.  Even when we no longer depend upon others to feed, clothe, and protect us, we must figure out what sorts of responsibilities we bear to others and what responsibilities they have to us.  Some people may seem relatively distant, bound to us only in the basic sense that we share in some common humanity.  Others can seem so important to us that we might not wish to go on without them.  In this course we'll examine the responsibilities we bear to each other in various respects-as human beings, as friends, as family, as brothers and sisters in common causes.  We'll also look at the ways in which people turn their backs on others and misuse them in cruel and oppressive ways.  Using sources drawn from philosophy, literature, history, memoir, and the social sciences, we'll put our minds to what we owe others and what others owe us.

ETHS 390-09A:  Ethics in Everyday Life
Jean Keller
Students face a variety of ethical challenges in their daily lives. Finding the right balance between one's obligations to self and to others in one's friendships, romantic life, work life, and family life are one set of ethical concerns.   Daily news headlines, that highlight challenging and seemingly intractable social problems, bring our attention to another.  In this course we'll address ethical issues in everyday life, ranging from the ethics of interpersonal relationships to our obligations as informed citizens with regard to the pressing social problems of our day. We'll study contemporary moral theories (virtue ethics, care ethics, deontology) and debates within moral theory and use this theoretical understanding to engage problems posed by students' own lives and by news headlines.

ETHS 390-10A:  Contemporary Moral Problems:  Lies, Sex, and Work
Kari-Shane Zimmerman
This course attends to contemporary moral problems in the following areas: lies, sex, and work. In exploring these "problem areas" of morality, it also seeks to attend to connections between them and to question whether allowing problems to drive our moral reflection is the best approach when attempting to make good moral judgments. In addition, the course will attend to the relationship between persons, virtues, and acts and between areas of morality typically considered "personal" and those considered to be "social." The approach will be interdisciplinary, but we will accent Christian ethical approaches in the areas of lying, work, and sexuality. Also, additional course goals include (but are not limited to) enhancing students' ability to read texts closely, both critically and charitably, as well as improving students' ability to express themselves both orally and in writing.

ETHS 390-11A:  Ethics in Everyday Life
Jean Keller
Students face a variety of ethical challenges in their daily lives. Finding the right balance between one's obligations to self and to others in one's friendships, romantic life, work life, and family life are one set of ethical concerns.   Daily news headlines, that highlight challenging and seemingly intractable social problems, bring our attention to another.  In this course we'll address ethical issues in everyday life, ranging from the ethics of interpersonal relationships to our obligations as informed citizens with regard to the pressing social problems of our day. We'll study contemporary moral theories (virtue ethics, care ethics, deontology) and debates within moral theory and use this theoretical understanding to engage problems posed by students' own lives and by news headlines.

ETHS 390-12A:  Others
Anthony Cunningham
We share our lives by both necessity and design with others.  Born utterly dependent, we rely entirely upon the care and kindness of others for our very survival.  Even when we no longer depend upon others to feed, clothe, and protect us, we must figure out what sorts of responsibilities we bear to others and what responsibilities they have to us.  Some people may seem relatively distant, bound to us only in the basic sense that we share in some common humanity.  Others can seem so important to us that we might not wish to go on without them.  In this course we'll examine the responsibilities we bear to each other in various respects-as human beings, as friends, as family, as brothers and sisters in common causes.  We'll also look at the ways in which people turn their backs on others and misuse them in cruel and oppressive ways.  Using sources drawn from philosophy, literature, history, memoir, and the social sciences, we'll put our minds to what we owe others and what others owe us.

ETHS 390-13A:  Sex, Death & Ethics
Scott Johnson
Most students enjoy talking about sex (outside of class), haven't thought much yet about death, and are rather upset that a course on ethics is even required.  Since the first seems amusing and the second far away, this class might seem like a pleasant way to satisfy an onerous requirement.  So admit it, you just read this description because of the title.  And you think since it meets once a week on a Wednesday night, it shouldn't interfere too much with the rest of your week.  Be warned, however, this is a real class with difficult readings as well as a final paper graded on both style and content.  It requires regular attendance, active participation, and weekly reflection on the reading.

This course will consider Sex, Death, and Ethics, consistent with the guidelines for Ethics Common Seminar.  Abortion is only one area where the three interrelate.  But isn't there really only one answer to the question of abortion?  Why should a pro-choice president be allowed to speak at a pro-life university?  Can abortion be discussed at the dinner table or in a classroom without parents becoming worried and suspicious?  If we don't talk about abortion somewhere, how will we know that our moral judgments are consciously elected and defensibly maintained?  And if we can't talk about this subject, how can we claim to account for a variety of other moral views which easily compare with ours on abortion?

There is more to Sex, Death, and Ethics than simply abortion.  We will investigate euthanasia, AIDS, stripping, prostitution, and promiscuity.  We will read plays as well as textbooks, memoirs, and some short fiction.  You will need to watch several films outside of class.  We will ask more questions that we will answer, but we will also develop our critical thinking skills with essentially contested concepts.  There are no preconceived answers to the questions we will ask.   Our task, properly stated, is to learn how to ask and assess those questions which may turn out to have uncertain answers.  Ethics is the study of how we should live, and questions about these topics are vitally important.  This is a difficult class that will repay your investment.

ETHS 390-14A:  20th Century Contemporary Political Thought
James Read
Examination of political thought throughout the turbulent 20th century, with special attention to writers who theorize about justice and the struggle to achieve it. Topics covered may include: just and unjust wars, imperialism, economic justice, justice in relations between men and women and between members of different racial and ethnic groups. A careful study of the ideas of the 20th century will prepare students to face the new challenges of the 21st century. Prerequisite: 221, equivalent, or consent of instructor.

ETHS 390-15A: Building Fences? Understanding War Refugees, Immigration and National Identity
Marina Martin
This course discusses immigration through the ethical problems it raises and the various forms of social tragedies and moral abuses that come with it in modern society.  Thousands of immigrants lose their lives when trying to reach their destiny abroad.  Do all people have a right to emigrate?  Is the identity and safety of a given nation threatened by the flow of immigrants?  Should nations adopt John Lennon's dream "Imagine all the people sharing all the world?"  Students will be exposed to a selection of readings, films and documentaries dealing with moral issues raised by cultural and ethnic differences.

ETHS 390-16A:  Contemporary Moral Problems:  Lies, Sex, and Work
Kari-Shane Zimmerman
This course attends to contemporary moral problems in the following areas: lies, sex, and work. In exploring these "problem areas" of morality, it also seeks to attend to connections between them and to question whether allowing problems to drive our moral reflection is the best approach when attempting to make good moral judgments. In addition, the course will attend to the relationship between persons, virtues, and acts and between areas of morality typically considered "personal" and those considered to be "social." The approach will be interdisciplinary, but we will accent Christian ethical approaches in the areas of lying, work, and sexuality. Also, additional course goals include (but are not limited to) enhancing students' ability to read texts closely, both critically and charitably, as well as improving students' ability to express themselves both orally and in writing.

HONR 390C-01A:  Reading for Life
Anthony Cunningham
Everyone loves a good story.  Great stories can provide us with far more than mere recreation.  Stories can provide us with rich character portraits that can reveal the subtleties and nuances of what it means to live well and responsibly.  In this course we'll use novels and films to address Socrates' most basic ethical questions, "How should one live?" and "What sort of person should I be?"  We'll do so by attending to all the concrete, particular details of real life and fictional characters thoroughly embroiled in the "business of living."  Reading well offers the possibility of vicarious experience and ultimately, ethical insight. 
Our readings will include: The Crucible (Arthur Miller),
Ransom (David Malouf),
The Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro),
Beloved (Toni Morrison),
Hecuba (Euripides),
How To Be Good  (Nick Hornby),
Glengarry Glen Ross (David Mamet), and
Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier).

PHI 321-01A:  Moral Philosophy
Stephen Wagner
The meaning of rights and responsibilities, virtues and vices, values and obligations. Questions of good and evil, right and wrong, freedom and determinism. Natural law, utilitarianism and other systematic theories of morally right behavior.