Fall 2020

Phil 247 – Practical Ethics

“Practical ethics” concerns the question of how to put our ethical obligations into practice. To answer this question, we must not only engage in philosophical theorizing – to determine the nature of our ethical obligations – but we must also engage in empirical analysis – to determine how we can effectively satisfy these obligations. In this class, we will be especially concerned with practical ethics as it relates to global economic inequality. Our primary focus will be on the moral question of whether we shouldhelp the global poor. We will also consider whether we can, in fact, help the global poor. We will consider research in philosophy, history, development economics, political science, and social psychology. The goal of this class is to give students concrete information that they can use to determine how they should think about and react to the moral problem of global poverty.

PHIL 406/806 – Current Issues in Social and Political Philosophy

Special Topic 1: Martin Luther King, Jr. Now

With the resurgence of racism across the globe there is renewed interested in the political philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This course is an attempt to rediscover King’s ideas by shedding light on three of the most important and misunderstood elements of King’s thought: his analysis of racism and its causes; his political theory of direct action and civil disobedience; and his understanding of the place of ethical virtues in activism and social life. In interpreting King’s political philosophy, we will consider the work of leading critics and interpreters. We will also consider the relevance of King’s philosophy for Canadians anti-racist struggles.