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Moral Responsibiliy: Doubts, Debates, Dialogue

PHIL 271
Spring 2016
Section: 01  
Certificates: Civic Engagement

"[T]he last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility."--Hannah Arendt
"[Prison] relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and, increasingly, global capitalism."--Angela Davis

Moral responsibility is more than an abstract philosophical puzzle; it's a subject where philosophical reflection plays an indispensable role in practical, political, and legal reasoning.

Popular claims about free will are being challenged from many directions. They are accused of being confused, ideologically driven, culturally specific, and at odds with causal understanding. How--if at all--can affirmations of moral responsibility be salvaged or reshaped in light of these doubts? The first half of this course surveys many conflicting landmark arguments about moral responsibility, and the second half slows down to explore three recent books, each with a sustained proposal for how we should weigh in about responsibility.

Final projects for this course may take at least two different forms (or some combination): a sustained discussion of a practical case in which someone's status as a responsible agent is unresolved, or a detailed argument analysis in connection with a philosophical text.

This course aims to engage students beyond the philosophy major, including anyone with an interest in social justice, legal reasoning (including LSAT skills), and/or political accounts of incarceration, punishment, and desert.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: [PHIL212 or ENVS212] OR [PHIL215 or ENVS215] OR PHIL217 OR PHIL218
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CIVI-MN)(PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUN-14-2024
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