Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For Friday and next week:
Read about animals and ethics in The Elements of Moral Philosophy.
Readings: John Simmons, "Reasonable Humans and Animals" (online)
Writing assignment: detailed summary of Simmons' arguments and objections and responses to the arguments. 2-3 pages. 
Also, read either Peter Singer's "All Animals Are Equal" or Alastair Norcross's " Torturing Puppies and Eating Meat: It's all in Good Taste!" both in RTD (and online).
Writing assignment for either: write an essay where you explain their arguments.
Extra credit: do both Singer and Norcross!


Farm Sanctuary, My Friends at the Farm 

What Came Before

NY Times contest on arguments for why vegetarianism is not a moral obligation (link forthcoming)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Are some illegal drugs (e.g., marijuana) morally permissible to use? Or are they wrong to use?

Reading: Michael Huemer ( U Colorado)  “America’s Unjust Drug War” online and in RTD.
Also please read the Rachels chapters on utilitarianism. 


See  EMLA - Emerging Millennials Leadership Alliance: 


We're a new human rights think tank & political action committee founded by Millennials. We start with the sleeping giant of mass incarceration.#WeCantWait
Predicated on the American ethic of egalitarianism, our mission is to push America forward to transcend the lines that divide, and embrace the ties that bind, in order to preserve and perfect our union.
Leading up to August 28th's 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (and Dr. King's "Dream"), our immediate objective is to push the issue of mass incarceration to the top of American dialogue. #WeCantWait

As Millennials looking toward the future, we've come to realize that if nothing is done NOW to address mass incarceration (as precipitated and perpetuated by the drug war), by 2043, just 30...See More
General Information
EMLA is a non-profit human rights think tank and political action committee (PAC).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

No class Friday

We will not have class Friday so that you can work on your assignment due Monday.

Friday, November 08, 2013


Are we morally obligated to donate some money to help people living in absolute poverty? Or it morally permissible to not help them?

Read, by philosopher Peter Singer, online "The Singer Solution to World Poverty" from the New York times. Also in the Right Thing to Do. Also read the chapter on ethical egoism in the Elements of Moral Philosophy. 

Optional: try to read Singer's "Famine, Affluence and Morality" essay published in 1972.


Look at these webpages mentioned in the videos that we watched; find an organization that you could provide some financial support for:


Read: "Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper," by James Pryor.

Writing assignment: Singer argues that you are morally obligated to pick at least one of these organizations above and donate at least some money to it on a regular basis. What reasons does he give in support of that conclusion? That is, what's his argument? What objections does he consider and respond to? Is his argument sound?

Please write a well organized essay that addresses these questions. To do this, you must pick an organization, explain what it does and use it as an example to discuss of what you COULD do. You need to explain what you could do and discuss Singer's argument that you should do what you could here.

Your essay should have this structure, which you should use in your paper: your paper should have these sections explicitly in your paper:

I. Introduction
- Here you explain what you will be doing in the paper
II. What I Could Do
- here you discuss an organization, what it does, how your donation might help, etc.
III. What Singer Argues I Should Do
- here you explain Singer's arguments for why you are morally obligated to donate some money
IV. Objections and Responses
- here you discuss at least three objections to Singer's arguments and his or your responses to the objections.
V. Conclusions
- here you summarize what you did in this paper and explain what you believe you should or should not do regarding these issues and why.

In class we will discuss a a powerpoint on the topics.
Extra credit: The next event in the Series on Political Philosophy in Atlanta (SOPHIA) will take place this coming Monday, Nov. 11th, at 3pm in the African American Hall of Fame.  Chioke I’Anson, of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Spelman, will speak on “The Neglected Question of Race in International Humanitarian Discourse.”  For more information, please see the attached flyer or visit the series website: