Courses That Focus Primarily on Ethics

The schedule of course offerings varies from semester to semester; in other words, not all courses listed here are offered every semester. See the College Catalog for details.

CLA 246 - Ethics in Archaeology

Using the case method, this course considers a range of ethical dilemmas involving stewardship, commercialization, public education, intellectual property, public reporting and publication, indigenous rights, and more, including issues faced by museums.

WRI 101 - The Ethics and Technologies of Medicine

This course explores the knotty ethical issues that emerge in the patient-physician relationship and in the application of certain medical technologies. We will learn through practice the importance of critical thinking, reading, and writing, and how to combine the three in coherent and well-organized essays that fully grapple with the implications of our topics.

ENG 110 - Introduction to Literature: Ethical Issues and Literary Texts

This particular section of English 110 springs from questions that literature asks about ethics, that ethics asks about literature, and that both ask about life.

ETH 236 - Ethics and Warfare

This course examines theories about why human beings engage in mass killing, the history of moral deliberation about war in major philosophical and religious traditions, and modern analyses of the diverse and sometimes conflicting moral principles that those traditions have bequeathed to us. Students will develop an appreciation for the richness of ethical thinking about war, and enhance their skills in applying moral philosophical reasoning to contemporary wars.

ETH 237 - Business Ethics and Consumer Responsibility

We often purchase and use products without any idea of where they come from. The stories behind the extraction of raw materials from the earth or sea, the people who grew or manufactured the stuff we buy, how well or badly they were treated as workers, and the environmental impact of the product life-cycle: those stories can be both fascinating and exceedingly complex. How do those stories relate to us as consumers, and as potential employees and managers of corporations? What does society have a right to expect from corporations in the realm of moral responsibility? Do corporate leaders have any moral obligations beyond serving the interests of the stockholders and obeying the law? Do they have moral obligations to other "stakeholders" such as employees, consumers, suppliers, members of communities living near factories, et al.?

ETH 238 - Ethics in Professional Life

Complex and challenging ethical issues can arise in professional life. This course is intended to foster awareness of ethical concerns across a significant range of professions (such as law, medicine, and journalism), to enable you to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various moral beliefs and ethical arguments relative to professional life, and to reinforce your personal sense of compassion and fairness in the context of your future professional roles.

ETH 239 - The Moral Status of Humans and Other Animals

There is a general consensus today that all people share a set of basic rights, or what might also be called full moral status. But we are less likely to agree about the moral status of human beings at the edges of life, such as early embryos (may we use them to extract stem cells, or freeze them indefinitely?) and individuals who are permanently unconscious (should they be considered dead?). We also have not reached a consensus about the moral status of various non-human animals: Some cultures revere all living things, while others grant non-human animals little or no independent moral status at all. Some contemporary theorists argue that any sentient animals (capable of suffering) deserve to have their interests count in our moral deliberations; among them are many proponents of vegetarianism who regard our treatment of food animals as unnecessarily cruel. A few philosophers go so far as to argue that highly intelligent animals like chimpanzees and dolphins have rights like ours, and should not be kept in zoos or used in biomedical experiments. This course will explore these and other fascinating ethical questions.

MHU 390 - Health Care Ethics

Introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of ethical thinking and decision making in health care. The course has two components: didactic (lectures, class discussion, library research, paper writing, etc.) and "experiential," involving an externship assignment to a clinical or administrative department at the Carolinas Medical Center. Examples of externship activities include observing on clinical rounds, attending departmental conferences, journal clubs and Grand Rounds, and doing administrative projects.

MHU 391 - Research Ethics

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the responsible conduct of research. Students will learn the conventions for appropriate animal and human research. They will also develop critical thinking and moral reasoning skills to resolve situations that may arise during the course of research. The course will address the following topics: historical and social context of science; government oversight and regulation of research; guidelines for research involving animals; and guidelines for research involving human subjects. Special consideration will be given to topics where moral dilemmas in research are more likely to occur, including conflicts of interest, informed consent, confidentiality, data ownership and intellectual property, disclosure, and dissemination of results.

MHU 470 - Global Health Ethics

Global health ethics seeks to understand values and principles which guide medical and public health practice throughout the world. Particular attention will be given to health inequalities and how medicine and public health may work to resolve these problems. Students will apply ethical frameworks to identify and clarify the dilemmas posed intra- and internationally related to the study, prevention and treatment of disease. Ultimately, students will be able to analyze various courses of actions and their consequences and propose pragmatic and value-driven solutions to current global health concerns.

PHI 120 - Applied Ethics

Introduction to the philosophical analysis of contemporary moral controversies. Topics vary, and have included abortion, euthanasia, feminism, world hunger, business ethics, nuclear war, and human rights.

PHI 130 - Medical Ethics

Ethical analysis of patient-physician relationship; contraception, abortion, sterilization, artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood; euthanasia and the care of dying patients; refusal of medical treatment; use of "unorthodox" medical treatments; experimentation on human subjects; human genetic control; allocation of scarce medical resources; and health care delivery systems.

PHI 140 - Environmental Ethics

Introduction to ethical analysis of environmental values and decision-making. Likely topics include: 1) the value of different aspects of the environment including non-human animals, species, non-living natural objects, and ecosystems; 2) ethical analysis of different approaches to risk as this bears on environmental policy-making; 3) the moral merits and liabilities of institutions such as private property as applied to the natural environment.

PHI 215 - Ethics

A critical introduction to theories of value and obligation, analysis of the meaning and function of moral language, and the relationship between morality and happiness.

PHI 325 - Philosophy of Law

Analysis of the nature and function of law. Various theories of law, relation of law to morality, economic analysis of law. An assessment of the principles of legal reasoning and jurisprudence, emphasis on discussion of decided cases.

POL 207 - Family and Justice

Examination of the ways in which families and political and economic institutions shape one another, with special emphasis on policies that promote marriage over ‘alternative' family arrangements; state-mandated family leave policies; ‘family-friendly' corporate employment practices; same-sex marriage; divorce law; and welfare reform.

POL 208 (= CLA 268) - Classical Political Theory

Through a study of works by Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle, this course examines the Socratic revolution in the history of thought, why Socrates founded political philosophy, and the radical challenge that classical political philosophy poses to modern and contemporary political thought.

POL 209 - Medieval Political Theory

Major political thinkers of medieval Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

POL 300 - Modern Political Theory

Leading political philosophers from the Renaissance to the latter part of the 19th century.

POL 301 - Contemporary Political Theory

Major political philosophers from Nietzsche to the present.

POL 304 - Foundations of Liberalism

Major political philosophers within the liberal tradition, including Locke, Kant, de Tocqueville, and Rawls.

POL 305 - Education and Politics

This course examines the proper political and moral education of aspiring leaders in works by Plato, Machiavelli, and Shakespeare.

REL 150 - Introduction to Theological Ethics

An introduction to fundamental questions and methods of ethical inquiry and theological thinking on the moral life.

REL 250 - Theological Ethics

A focused study of a given ethical issue and its theological significance. Topics to be studied may include medical ethics, justice and poverty, war and peace, the meaning of virtue, and civil rights.

REL 252 - Prophetic Christianity in America

A study of the theological ethics that contributed to the Social Gospel, Christian Realism, and the Civil Rights Movement in America. Resources include works by Walter Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as some secondary texts, recordings, and films.

REL 256 - Religion, Ethics, and Medicine

An introduction of basic themes, methods, and issues in religious bioethics. Exploration of ways that religious perspectives differ from, complement, or converge with secular approaches.

REL 258 - Vocation of Citizen and Soldier

Theological and philosophical perspectives on civil government, war, and military service with readings from biblical and classical sources. Emphasis on recent essays on specific moral questions and issues.

REL 350 - Reformed Theology and Ethics

A study of the signal and dynamic ideas, themes, and issues of the Reformed tradition in theology and ethics, with emphasis on the sovereignty of God, predestination, sin, grace, law, faithfulness, and political participation.

REL 352 - Protestant and Roman Catholic Ethics

Compares and contrasts Protestant and Roman Catholic approaches to theological ethics. Analyzes the historical, conceptual, and methodological similarities and differences in the two traditions, applying their distinctive perspectives to several contemporary issues.

REL 354 - Major Figures in Theology and Ethics

Each time it is offered this course explores the theology and ethics of a different major figure, e.g., Jonathan Edwards, Karl Barth, H. Richard Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, or James M. Gustafson.

REL 357 - The Bible and Modern Moral Issues

Examines patterns of scriptural reasoning within Christianity in order to understand how the Bible has been put to use in ethical debates in the past and how it might be sensitively deployed in debates about modern moral issues.

REL 376 - Islamic Ethics

Islamic ethical theory and how it is applied to specific contemporary ethical issues. Topics include: the formulation of Islamic ethics, political ethics (including war and terrorism), marriage and sexuality, medical ethics (including abortion and euthanasia), business ethics, and environmental ethics.