In the first part of the course, we will consider ways of reasoning about morality. And we will use these tools to look at two prominent moral problems: animal rights and abortion. One goal will be to become familiar with reasoning about applied problems in moral philosophy. A second goal is to understand rights and what to do when they conflict.
In the second part of the course, we will look at one type of problem that has often been ignored or misunderstood: structural oppression. We will use Iris Marion Young’s Five Faces of Oppression as an explanation of the concept, and then will spend the rest of the semester looking into different forms of oppression. We will discuss class, immigration, and race, looking at how these issues intersect and involve elements of structural oppression. While one of the main goals of this section will be learning the language of structural oppression and learning to use it as a lens through which to see problems in the world, we will also have discussions throughout as to what we ought to do in response.
You will leave this course with a better handle on 1) how to reason about moral problems; 2) the nature of rights, how rights are generated, what rights mean, and what to do when rights conflict; and 3) what exactly structural oppression is and how to figure out what obligations we have to remedy or prevent it from occurring.