PHIL 102 A: Contemporary Moral Problems

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWThF 9:40am - 11:50am
ART 004
me studying
Julio Covarrubias

Syllabus Description:


This is a class on contemporary issues in moral, social, and political philosophy, focusing especially on the challenges posed by massive forms of social injustice and structural oppression.  We will thus consider a range of topics such as: cultural pluralism and the nation-state; the 2016 election; racial oppression; colonialism, it's legacies, and ongoing structures; global capitalism and global poverty; the politics of migration; hate speech and the ethics of punching Nazis; finding meaning in an apparently meaningless and oppressive world; Indigenous peoples' resistance movements; and anti-capitalist ethics. We will supplement analytical and theoretical texts with films such as Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You and Jordan Peele's Get Out!, as well as music, poetry, and short stories, if time allows (Topics may vary.) 


Tentative Topic Schedule:

Week 1

  • Introduction to Social, Moral, Political Philosophy
  • Basic Concepts of Reasoning
  • The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
  • The Challenge of Cultural Difference in the Nation-State


Week 2

  • Culture and Racism
  • Defining Structural Oppression
  • Racial Oppression and the 2016 Election
  • Anti-Blackness in the US


Week 3

  • Colonialism and the origins of Capitalism
  • Global Capitalism and the Nation-State
  • “Fourth World” and Indigenous Political Thought
  • Is Capitalism Inherently Racist?


Week 4 (Movie Week)

  • Embrace the Serpent
  • Sorry to Bother You
  • Get Out
Catalog Description: 
Philosophical consideration of some of the main moral problems of modern society and civilization, such as abortion, euthanasia, war, and capital punishment. Topics vary.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:07pm