Fall 2021

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.

Philosophy – 257 Ethics

This is the first half of a year long course; it will introduce students to topics in political philosophy, a subfield of ethics. We will survey the ideas of historical thinkers who argue for radical political change. We will read work by abolitionists, suffragists, anti-colonialists, and civil rights activists. We focus on these thinkers because, for the most part, they are often either under examined or completely ignored by philosophers and hence are ripe for the attention of curious minds! We will consider the ideas that are offered in light of recent revolutionary movements including the civil rights movement, the Black Lives Matter protests, and the Wet’suwet’en resistance to the coastal gasLink pipeline.


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.

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