Friday, December 1, 2017

Q&A #8: Drugs

1. Read: Chapters 22-3.

You may choose the focus of your final essay; but for those who would some guidance:

1. Is decriminalization preferable to legalization?
2. Given conflicting empirical studies, how ought we to decide the merits of arguments for or against legalization/decriminalization?
3. Is drug abuse a consequence of widespread and systemic alienation or dehumanization?
4. Do we have a moral right to use dangerous drugs?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Q&A #7: Identity Politics, Sex, Gender, and Sexuality


1. Let's begin with a consideration of promise and perils of "identity politics":

And here's a recent interview with a well known critic of identity politics:

Focusing on questions of sex-gender identity:

2. Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender (SEP):

"The XX and XY Lie: Our Social Construction of a Sex and Gender Binary":

Supplemental: Philosophers discuss Rachel Dolezal (and the question of transracialism):

Q&A:  Due Monday, December 4:  Compose an essay on the topic of your choice from our most recent readings/discussions.  For those looking for more direction:

Q: How does a politics of identity serve to promote human equality?
Q: Does the "sex/gender" distinction remain a viable concept for feminist theory? (see, for example and in addtiion to the SEP article, this discussion.)
Q: What elements of biological sex are a social construction? (see the discussion linked in Q #2.)
Q: What are the the rational or moral limits on identity formation?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Q&A #6: Immigration (Updated)

Read: Chapters 24-5.

Read also:  Scheffler, "Immigration and the Significance of Culture."  (JSTOR)

Q: (Paper due Friday; choose one): What is "culture"?  Which aspects or elements of "culture" are worth preserving?  What is the value of "multiculturalism"?  Is Scheffler right to suggest that the only way to preserve culture is to change it?  What is the relationship between "culture" and "identity"?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Q&A #5: Socialism/Capitalism (UPDATED)


1. Norman Geras, "Minimum Utopia: Ten Theses":

2. Terzakis, "What do Socialists Say about Human Nature?":

3. Read some essays/watch videos from Richard Wolf:

New (on capitalist alienation/socialist solutions):

4. Cox, "An Introduction to Marx's Theory of Alienation."

(See also, Gasper or Musto, for example, for further reflections on alienation)


5. You choose the precise focus of your papers this week (due Friday).

Friday, October 6, 2017

Q&A #4: Moral Status and Abortion (UPDATED)

(We'll spend next week discussing moral status and then take up the issue of abortion the following week)

1. Read:
a. Jeff McMahan on Moral Status:

b. Supplemental/optional:
SEP: The Grounds of Moral Status":

2. Read chapters 2&3

Q: What is the moral status of a (say, 2-month old) human fetus?
Due: Friday: October 20

New Readings for Monday:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Q&A #3: Animals (updated)

Read: Chapters 6 & 7; and Curnutt, "A New Argument for Vegetarianism" (class handout).

Read: Carol Adams, "An Animal Manifesto," and This interview with Gary Francione, and this one, too.

Defend either proposition: .I am/am not (you choose!) morally obligated to be a vegan.

(This is, of course, distinct from the question of whether you are or will become one.  Closing the theory-practice gap, acting on one's convictions -- where a gap exists -- are additional concerns we might hope to shed some light on as our conversations continue.)

Due: next Friday.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Q&A #2: Capital Punishment

1. Read: Chapters 10-11.
2. Q: Is the death penalty morally justifiable?