Below are links to syllabi for courses I have taught at the University of Rochester, with longer descriptions of courses I am continuing to teach:
PHL 107/BIO 107: Ethics and Science of Stem Cells
PHL 109: Justice and Equality
PHL 221: Philosophical Foundations of the American Revolution. In this course, we study the American Revolution by examining the political theory which sparked the revolution itself and which lay behind the writing of the Constitution. We will begin by looking at the important predecessors to the revolution, particularly the works of John Locke, the Baron de Montesquieu, and David Hume. We will then consider important works from the period surrounding the revolution, including works by Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Finally, we will look at the debates surrounding the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, including the Federalist Papers and important anti-Federalist works. The eighteenth century was a time of remarkable intellectual activity in the West, and the Americans played a central role in it, both reflecting the thought in Europe and influencing the course of thoughts and events there.
PHL 223: Social and Political Philosophy
PHL 225: Ethical Decisions in Medicine
PHL 228: Public Health Ethics. Most health care ethics focuses on the individual decisions about treatments, but many ethical questions have implications for society at large. The demands that individual health decisions make on the system may create collective problems, and conversely, the needs of society may limit the freedoms that individuals think they should have. Public health ethics then, lie at the intersection of medicine, political philosophy, and public policy. This course will examine the values of health, social needs, and freedom through a systematic examination of situations in which these conflicts arise. We will examine the issues by looking at it through three levels: through theoretical readings in philosophy, through readings in the broad issues of public health, and by considering case studies.
PH 300/PHL 311: Seminar in Bioethics. The Seminar in Bioethics is intended as a capstone experience for bioethics majors, but it is open to anyone who has taken PHL 225 or 228 with permission of the instructor. In a discussion-based seminar format, we will examine the foundations of bioethics and then we will look at book-length treatments of several important issues, chosen by the participants as whole among topics like health care justice, global health justice, stem cell research, transplantation ethics, enhancement technologies, and issues in end-of-life care.
PHL 312: Neuroethics. Advances in neuroscience allow us to understand the brain and its functions more completely now than ever before. From these findings, new medical techniques and technologies are being developed that will allow us to peer into the working of others’ minds and to alter our cognitive functions, our memory, and our moods, raising fundamental questions about free will, about the basis for our identity as persons, and about morality itself. For these reasons, neuroscience may pose a deeper set of moral issues than any other science and this course will seek to explore the ethical issues that it raises.
PHL 320: Special Topics in Ethics: Death. Death poses a number of philosophical puzzles: What does it mean to die? Am I harmed when I die? I don’t experience my death or being dead, so why would it be bad for me? Is it appropriate, then, to fear my death? Is it wrong to kill myself? Can I be harmed after I die? If dying is bad, would it be better if I never died, if I lived forever? Does the fact of that we will die change the way we should live? Does death shape the meaning of our lives?
PHL 324: Rousseau to Revolution
PHL 587: Liberalism and its Critics
Medical Humanities Seminar: Doctors' Dilemmas. Literature provides rich contexts in which to think about moral issues that go far beyond the sketchy scenarios that we often use to think about ethical values and principles. In this course, then, we will use plays, short stories, and novels to look more deeply at some important ethical issues related to medicine.
Medical Humanities Seminar: Bioethics at the Movies. Movies often provide a rich context in which to think about moral issues that go far beyond the sketchy scenarios that are often used to think about ethical values and principles in both philosophy and medicine. In this course, we will use movies to look more deeply at some important ethical issues related to medicine.