345-HSB-VA, Life and Death
Questions regarding the value of life have occupied a central place in reasoning about right and wrong. In our culture, however, these questions, due in part to the erosion of traditional value systems and the rapid development of technology, have become particularly acute. The objective of this course is to examine some of the principles and problems involved in making life and death decisions. For example, there is no clear consensus regarding the morality of capital punishment, abortion, or euthanasia. Even the morality of killing animals for food and research os called into question. We will spend much of our time discussing moral issues of this kind. Students will be encouraged to appreciate that a person's perspective in relation to these problems will depend on and reflect general beliefs concerning the nature of morality, as well as on the person's overall world view.