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PHILOS 102. Contemporary Ethical Issues. 3 Credits.

Ethics is one branch of philosophy, and philosophy is an attempt to understand the most basic concepts and theories that people use to understand the nature of the world, human beings, and human beings’ place in the world. The main concerns of ethics are the nature of good and evil and the basis of right and wrong conduct. It is easy to form a quick belief about what a good life is, or about whether abortion is right or wrong, whether capital punishment is justified, and so on. Someone may even have some reasons for his/her beliefs on such issues. But in ethics that is not enough. Ethics asks whether the reasons are really good ones, ones that truly justify the belief in question, ones that can truly withstand an objective critical examination, ones that truly fit in well with a solid system of ethical beliefs. This course deals with some of the most important questions of ethics, and tries to answer them on the basis of the highest standards of reasoning. We will first examine a number of different ethical theories. After we have studied ethical theories, we will go on to consider particular ethical issues. These issues will also be critically and systematically examined. Such issues may include abortion, genetic engineering, euthanasia, the death penalty, freedom of speech, war and terrorism, and animal rights.