Instructor: Arielle Mindel
Description of Course Goals and CurriculumThe goal of this course is to answer questions related to practical ethics using philosophical theories. The course covers topics including climate change, effective altruism, the treatment of animals, physician assisted suicide, and abortion. The course focuses on the work of the instructor Peter Singer, while offering counter opinions on each topic.
Learning From Classroom InstructionThe course material is mostly taught for lecture instruction by Peter Singer, with occasional guest lectures who delve deeper into the topic being discussed. The instructor uses a slideshow to present the information. The instructor accepts student questions during the lecture if there is remaining time at the end. Most questions, however, are addressed in precept. Precept materials supplement lecture material, with readings and conversations going into more detail on the topics discussed in lecture that week. Precepts include a mix of preceptor-moderated discussions and student presentations. Students are expected to participate in these discussions and encouraged to express their opinions on the topic using philosophical theories discussed in lecture to prove their points.
Learning For and From AssignmentsIn this course, earning full marks on an assignment requires proper use of philosophical theories. Assignments ask students to take a stance on a given topic and outline a philosophical argument for their position. This can include referencing sources that both support and oppose the student’s position, responding to counterarguments, considering implications, and writing clearly. Specific formatting options are detailed in precept for students to understand the typical structure of philosophy papers.
External ResourcesRequired reading materials provide adequate information for this course, teaching students both the theory and how to structure philosophical arguments for later assignments. Since this course relies on written assignments for grading purposes, the writing center may be useful for thinking through and editing papers. Peers, especially those in precepts, are also helpful resources for discussing possible paper topics.
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course SelectionThis course does not require students to have any background knowledge or skills in order to do well. Students will be taught everything they need to know. Comfort with writing argumentative papers is helpful, but not required for success. Students can expect to come out of this course with a broader awareness and understanding of practical ethics that can be implemented into everyday life.