The specific topic of this course changes from semester to semester. Each time the course is offered, it considers a topic of current social importance and employs important work in social and moral philosophy to understand them. Topics have included reparations and responses to historical injustices; toleration of religious and other differences; immigration and the question of who should get in and why. Future topics may involve the legitimacy of torture; justice in the distribution of health care; markets and morals; same-sex marriage; the role, nature, and justifiability of patriotism; etc.
- Compare and contrast major moral theories, theories of justice, and philosophical theories in social and political philosophy.
- Focus most acutely on the centrality of justification for claims made in these accounts.
- Apply, at an advanced collegiate level, the resulting understandings to an analysis of the moral dilemmas in a topic of current social importance such as reparations and responses to historical injustice; patriotism; warfare; toleration of religious and other differences; and other challenging issues currently central in civic debate.
- Use the work of the course to reflect on personal beliefs and attitudes about these central issues, and to construct ways, as a citizen, to act morally on those beliefs.
- Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
- Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
- Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
- Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
- Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.
- Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
- Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.
- Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.
- Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.
- Identify ways to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.