Descriptions for ETHS 390 - Fall 2020

ETHS 390-01A:  Justice in the 21st Century
Daniel Finn
Few issues are as fundamental to human life as justice: everyone is in favor of it.  Yet few issues are as controversial: justice has widely divergent meanings for different people.  This course will examine in detail five rival understandings of justice prevalent in debates today.  Students will read two novels, and five philosophical or theological treatments of the notion of justice in our joint efforts to come to grips with what justice means in our lives: personally and on a national and global scale.  Like every Ethics Common Seminar, the goal of this course is to improve each student's ability to make good moral judgments.

ETHS 390-02A:  Museum History: Ethics of Collecting and Display
Carol Brash
This class will examine ethical issues that arise from the museum’s core activities: collecting and display. You will study the museum’s role in society and in the shaping of knowledge. Readings will come from the textbook as well as case studies and current events. Through discussion of the readings, writing, presentations, and role play you will examine current best practices of museum ethics and develop your own informed interpretations. This course will look at a variety of museum types including but not limited to art, history, and science museums.

ETHS 390-03A:  Ethics of War:  What do Ethics Mean during a Time of War?
Christi Siver
If General Sherman was right that "war is hell," the concept of ethics seems completely irrelevant.  However, as human society has evolved, numerous politicians, philosophers, and religious figures have agreed on the need for an ethics in war, even if they have not agreed on the content of those ethics.  Students will be introduced to formal ethical frameworks and discover the dilemmas they encounter when applying these frameworks to real world situations.  Students will compare how these ethical frameworks overlap and diverge from political values.  We will debate particular dilemmas in warfare, including which authorities can declare war and when they are justified in doing so, what methods can be used in war, and what obligations both combatants and non-combatants have.  Students will work with a basic ethics text supplemented by contemporary articles outlining modern dilemmas related to ethics of war.

ETHS 390-04A:  Healthcare Ethics
Kathy Ohman
This course directs students to re-think ethics in today's system of healthcare, where the best possibilities for ethical healthcare in this century lie beyond traditional and mainstream thought. Students will question assumptions guided by the major principles of healthcare ethics and reflect deeply on clinical cases across healthcare disciplines from the perspective of professional and consumer.

ETHS 390-05A:  War & Memory
Nicholas Hayes
Our course examines the ethical issues of the conduct and representation of war from the Great War (WWI) to today's "war on terrorism." Our theme follows that shift of strategy from targeting military casualties to the predominant emphasis on civilian casualties as evident in the case studies of the Vietnam War, WWI, the Holocaust, the Troubles in Ireland, and the wars of genocide in our time - Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the post-Cold War conflicts of Russia, and the "war on terrorism." 

ETHS 390-06A:  Vulnerable Lives
Anthony Cunningham
Who can deny that human lives and character are fragile? A glance at victims of rape, genocide, war, oppression, betrayal, and tragic loss suggests we are vulnerable. Yet various lines of thought have suggested that this needn't be so. Some Eastern religions have promised relief from suffering through enlightenment, and the Judeo-Christian tradition has pointed to faith and divine grace as a balm for suffering and a shield against the same. Roman and Greek schools of thought have aimed at forms of detachment and serenity that might render people invulnerable. Using psychology, memoir, philosophy, fiction and film sources, we'll consider ways in which human lives and character can be compromised and disintegrated. We'll also consider strategies designed to render us less vulnerable or invulnerable.

ETHS 390-07A:  Reading for Life
Anthony Cunningham
Everyone loves great stories.  They can offer character portraits that can help reveal the subtleties and nuances of living well and responsibly.  We’ll use stories to address Socrates' ethical questions, "How should one live?" and "What sort of person should I be?"  We’ll attend to the details of real-life and fictional characters embroiled in the "business of living." Our stories will include: David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Nick Hornby’s How To Be Good, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.

ETHS 390-08A:  Reading for Life
Anthony Cunningham
Everyone loves great stories.  They can offer character portraits that can help reveal the subtleties and nuances of living well and responsibly.  We’ll use stories to address Socrates' ethical questions, "How should one live?" and "What sort of person should I be?"  We’ll attend to the details of real-life and fictional characters embroiled in the "business of living." Our stories will include: David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Nick Hornby’s How To Be Good, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

ETHS 390-09A:  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.

ETHS 390-10A:  20th Century Political Thought: Markets/Identity/Justice
James Read
We will focus on two different ways in which questions of justice and injustice arise in the modern world: on matters of distribution; and on matters of recognition. We will examine the ethical choices we face in this respect as citizens, voters, consumers, and members of a community. Finally, we will explore how identity politics, in both positive and destructive forms, shapes modern democratic societies.

ETHS 390A-01A:  Healthcare Ethics
Kathy Ohman
This course directs students to re-think ethics in today's system of healthcare, where the best possibilities for ethical healthcare in this century lie beyond traditional and mainstream thought. Students will question assumptions guided by the major principles of healthcare ethics and reflect deeply on clinical cases across healthcare disciplines from the perspective of professional and consumer.

ETHS 390A-02A:  Healthcare Ethics
Georgia Hogenson
This course directs students to re-think ethics in today's system of healthcare, where the best possibilities for ethical healthcare in this century lie beyond traditional and mainstream thought. Students will question assumptions guided by the major principles of healthcare ethics and reflect deeply on clinical cases across healthcare disciplines from the perspective of professional and consumer.

ETHS 390A-03A:  Healthcare Ethics
Kathy Ohman
This course directs students to re-think ethics in today's system of healthcare, where the best possibilities for ethical healthcare in this century lie beyond traditional and mainstream thought. Students will question assumptions guided by the major principles of healthcare ethics and reflect deeply on clinical cases across healthcare disciplines from the perspective of professional and consumer.

ETHS 390B-01A:  Science Ethics
Christen Strollo Gordon
Cross-listed with CHEM 390
This course will explore the idea of an ethical scientific process and its effect on our society. Topics may include: air pollution, persistent pollutants, disposal of waste, vaccines, energy production, work hazards, factory farms (antibiotic resistance), pesticides, GMOs, geoengineering, climate change (water, land, and food access; infectious diseases; impact of extreme weather), and pharmaceutical industry practices. Students will apply current ethical philosophies to examine their own place in the scientific world through readings, discussion, and case studies. Prerequisite of MT & NS requirements and Junior or Senior standing.

HONR 390B-01A:  The Medical Professional in the Modern World
Jeffrey Anderson
The word "professional" today connotes an individual with well-developed skills, specialized knowledge, and expertise, who conforms to the standards of a profession.  The original meaning of "professional" as one who "makes a profession of faith" in the face of demanding circumstances has been all but lost in the medical profession.  This class will use the burgeoning literature of medicine, written by, for, and about medical professionals, in order to explore the full range of "professional" challenges facing today's medical professionals.
The practice of medicine is rife with ethical dilemmas.  By exploring the efforts of medical professionals to counter the institutional forces that constrain them and to find their own solid ground to stand upon, this course aims to cultivate the habit of moral reflection in future medical professionals.  Although this course will primarily focus on the experiences of medical doctors, it should also be of interest to those aspiring to other medical and non-medical careers.

PHIL 321-01A:  Moral Philosophy
Erica Stonestreet
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.

PHIL 322-01A:  Environmental Ethics
Charles Wright
What does it mean to have an ethical relationship with the Earth and its living systems?  The class starts with the question:  how did we get where we are?  "Where we are" is a condition where it is difficult for people living in the modern developed societies of the Western world even to imagine what it might mean to interact with the Earth and its living systems with moral concern and respect.  We will start the class by examining deep roots that the current failure of ethical recognition has in the philosophical and religious traditions that gave rise to the modern world.  Once we have considered these roots, we will turn to philosophical and religious efforts to reconceive the relation between humans and the other than human world.  The religious reflections of theologian Sally McFague, farmer and poet Wendell Berry, and his holiness Pope Francis will introduce us to contemporary religious perspectives on the right relation between humans and the Earth.  The writing of Aldo Leopold and indigenous activists will offer us philosophical reflections on the nature and possibility of ethical relations between humans and the other than human world.  Finally, we will consider the role consumer culture plays by encouraging us to maintain an exploitative and destructive relationship with the natural world.  Economist Juliet Schor will dissect for us the cultural and economic dynamics of consumer culture.  We will then finish with the memoir of a family living in the heart of New York City that tried to re-order their lives in a way respectful of the Earth.

PHIL 325-01A:  Feminist Ethics
Jean Keller
This course will examine how women's experiences and philosophical reflection on those experiences offer important and necessary perspectives in the field of moral and ethical thinking. Topics may include the nature of feminism, freedom and oppression; the role of care, trust, autonomy, reason and emotion in the moral life, and a consideration of how feminism has come to challenge basic premises and conceptual tools of traditional, western approaches to ethics and moral reasoning. The course will also explore social/ethical issues stemming from the intersection of gender with race, ethnicity, culture, class, and/or sexuality.