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PHI 221: Contemporary Moral Issues

Instructor: Matěj Král
Credits: 3
GEP: Humanities

Course Description

Philosophical analysis and theory applied to a broad range of contemporary moral issues, including euthanasia, suicide, capital punishment, abortion, war, famine relief, and environmental concerns. Diverse approaches to these issues are to be explained and discussed.

The students are also to be acquainted with the social situation in the present-day Czech Republic (e. g. in connection with issues such as justice or equality) and the state of the public debate on the discussed issues in both Czech and European society. Attention is to be paid to the major fields of study of participating students. Relevant connections between these fields and contemporary moral issues are to be sought and explored.

Learning Outcomes

Both the learning outcomes and several methods used in the course follow on from an award-winning article “The Transition from Studying Philosophy to Doing Philosophy” by John Rudisill.

  1. Interpretation
    Students will be able to analyze and interpret academic philosophical essays in practical normative ethics. Special attention will be paid to their ability to identify and describe the main aim(s) of a text and summarize and explicate the main support for the main conclusion(s).
  2. Argumentation
    Students will be able to effectively identify, evaluate, and formulate arguments used in practical normative ethics. Special attention will be paid to their ability to extract an argument from an academic article and formulate an effective and well-reasoned argument for and against a position.
  3. Philosophical knowledge
    Students will know and understand several major arguments used in connection with the moral issues the course focuses on. Special attention will be paid to their knowledge and understanding of the articles and excerpts selected for the reading.
  4. Communication
    Students should be able to develop, organize, and express ideas related to the moral issues discussed during the course in a precise, clear, effective, and systematic manner in writing and discussion. Special attention will be paid to the convincingness and coherence of their arguments and to the expressing of the disagreement in a respectful and rational manner. Diverse debate and discussion formats and methods will be actively practiced throughout the course.