Introduction to Ethics [CRN 27392]

Discipline: Philosophy and Religious Studies
Instructor: Cutter
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 13:40
End: 15:00
Field Work: Day 1 | March 1, 2017 | India
Prerequisites: Must not be a freshman Download Syllabus

The objectives of this course are to introduce students to main concepts and theories in the field of philosophical ethics and to give students experience in making and justifying ethical decisions.  The class considers some of the basic questions of ethics: How should we live our lives?  Why should I be moral?  How does one judge in the ethical life?  Are there unifying themes in global ethics?  The class looks at how philosophers have answered these questions in the past and how their answers might be relevant to contemporary ethical dilemmas.  Readings include both classical and contemporary texts taken from western, African, and Asian traditions. In the course, students have a chance to consider basic questions of right and wrong in a global comparative context, and, in doing so, gain experience in thinking critically, reasoning carefully, and writing articulately.

Field Work

Country: India
Day: 1
Date: March 1, 2017

In this field class, we visit a hospital facility specializing in medical tourism, and in particular in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy. The facility provides services for couples from other countries who travel to India to have their embryos created and implanted into Indian women who will serve as gestational carriers for the couples at a cost significantly less than they would have paid in their home countries. At a second hospital facility, we learn about contraceptive and abortion services in India as a means of family planning, managing Indian population growth, and reducing infant and maternal mortality in India. In keeping with the themes of the class, we discuss the ethical issues raised by such services in the contexts of patient rights, patient welfare, and social justice.

Learning Objectives:
1. Deepen our understanding of medical tourism and the ethical issues that it raises
2. Deepen our understanding of medical surrogacy and the ethical issues it raises
3. Deepen our understanding of family planning and abortion in India, with particular emphasis on the ethics of sex selection