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Covering important philosophical issues aimed at today's students, paired articles "talk to each other," thus setting up a clear "pro-con" format. Each pair of readings features an introduction with a list of "Points to Ponder" which focuses students on the issues they’ll encounter as they read and ends with a conclusion entitled "The Continuing Debate" with subheads "What is New” and "Where to Find More" to encourage further study and discussion.
1. Campus Speech Codes: Protection Against Intolerance or Destruction of Free Speech?
Protection Against Intolerance
Advocate: Andrew Altman, Professor of Philosophy, Georgia State University
Source: “Liberalism and Campus Hate Speech: A Philosophical Examination,” Ethics, volume 103 (January 1993).
Destruction of Free Speech
Advocate: Jonathan Rauch, writer for The Economist, author of The Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).
Source: “In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected,” Harper’s Magazine, May 1995.
2. Pornography: Public Harm That Should Be Censored or Private Choice That Must Be Tolerated?
Public Harm That Should Be Censored
Advocate: Andrea Dworkin, a writer and lecturer, has been very active in passing ordinances that categorize pornography as sex discrimination, thus increasing opportunities for legal action against pornography.
Source: Letters in a War Zone, 1988, Dutton
Private Choice That Must Be Tolerated
Advocate: Mark R. Wicclair
Source: “Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship,” © 1985 by Wicclair. Page 233 in Social Ethics, 6th Edition, Mappes and Zembaty.
3. Affirmative Action Programs: Unfair Discrimination or Basic Justice?
Advocate: Carl Cohen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, author of many works in ethics, political philosophy, and logic.
Source: "Why Race Preference is Wrong and Bad," from affirmative Action and Racial Preference: A Debate, by Carl Cohen and James P. Sterba (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Advocates: Luke Charles Harris and Uma Narayan
Source: “Affirmative Action as Equalizing Opportunity: Challenging the Myth of 'Preferential Treatment,’” National Black Law Journal volume 16, issue 2; 199/2000.
4. The Rights of NonHuman Animals: Sorely Neglected or Nonexistent?
Advocate: Tom Regan, Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University, leader in the animal rights movement, and author of The Case for Animal Rights (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1983)
Source: “The Case for Animal Rights,” From Peter Singer, Editor, In Defense of Animals (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1985): 13-26.
Advocate: Carl Cohen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Source: “The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research,” The New England Journal of Medicine, volume 315 (October 2, 1986): 865-870.
4. Illegal Drugs: Should They Remain Illegal or Should We Decriminalize Drugs?
Illegal Drugs Should Remain Illegal
Advocate: Theodore Dalrymple, a physician and psychiatrist who works in a British prison. A contributing editor of City Journal, he recently wrote Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass
Source: “Don’t Legalize Drugs,” City Journal, Volume 7, No. 2 (Spring 1997).
Illegal Drugs Should Be Decriminalized
Advocate: Ethan A. Nadelmann, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University
Source: “The Case for Legalization,” Public Interest, Summer 1998
5. Performance Enhancing Drugs: Should They Be Banned from Athletics or Should Athletes Be Allowed to Use Them?
They Should Be Banned from Athletics
Advocate: Robert L. Simon, Professor of Philosophy at Hamilton College, Coach of the Hamilton varsity golf team from 1986-2000. He is a past president of the Philosophic Society for the Study of Sport and a member of the editorial board for the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport
Source: “Good Competition and Drug-Enhanced Competition,” Journal of the Philosophy of sport, volume 11 (1984), pages 6-13.
Athletes Should Be Allowed to Use Them
Advocate: W. M. Brown, a philosophy professor at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and dean of the faculty, he has written extensively in philosophy of science and the philosophy of sport
6. Homosexual Sex: Immoral or Moral?
Advocate: John Finnis, Professor of law and legal philosophy at Oxford and Biolchini Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, is a leader of the new “natural lawyers”
Source: “Law, Morality, and 'Sexual Orientation,’” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy, volume 9, 1995
Advocate: John Corvino, Philosophy Professor at Wayne State University, specializes in ethical theory and applied ethics, and is a well-known lecturer on topics related to homosexuality
Source: “Why Shouldn’t Tommy and Jim Have Sex? A Defense of Homosexuality,” from Same Sex: Debating the Ethics, Science, and Culture of Homosexuality (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997)
7. The Question of Abortion: Immoral or Morally Acceptable?
Advocate: Don Marquis,
Source: “Why Abortion is Immoral,” Journal of Philosophy, vol. 86 (April 1989)
Advocate: Bonnie Steinbock,
Source: “Why Most Abortions Are Not Wrong,” Advance in Bioethics, volume 5, 1999, pp. 245-267.
8. Cloning: Scientific Horror or Potential Benefit?
Advocate: Leon Kass
Source: “Preventing A Brave New World: Why We Should Ban Human Cloning Now,” The New Republic, May 21, 2001: 30-39.
Advocate: Dan W. Brock
Source: “Cloning Human Beings,” Commissioned paper for the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, contained in Cloning Human Beings, Volume II: Commissioned Papers, Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (Rockville, Maryland: June 1997): E1-E23. 1997
9. The Ethics of Medical Research in Impoverished Countries: Must Medical Research in Impoverished Countries Follow the Same Procedures as in Wealthy Countries, or Can Different Procedures Be Followed?
Researchers Must Follow the Same Research Procedures as in Wealthy Countries
Advocate: Marcia Angell, Executive Editor (1988-1999) and Editor-in-Chief (1999-2000) of New England Journal of Medicine; currently Senior Lecturer in Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School
Source: “The Ethics of Clinical Research in the Third World,” The New England Journal of Medicine Volume 337, Number 12, September 18, 1997: 847-849
Researchers Can Use Different Research Procedures in Impoverished Countries
Advocate: Salim S. Abdool Karim, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa; Professor in Clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University; and Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa
Source: “Placebo Controls in HIV Perinatal Transmission Trials: A South African’s Viewpoint,” American Journal of Public Health Volume 88, Number 4, April 1998: 564-566
10. Physician-Assisted Suicide: Should It Be Prohibited or Allowed?
Physician-Assisted Suicide Should Be Prohibited
Advocate: John D. Arras, William and Linda Porterfield Professor of Bioethics and Professor of Philosophy, University of Virginia
Source: “Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Tragic View,” Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, volume 13 (1997): 361: 389
Physician-Assisted Suicide Should Be Allowed
Advocate: Margaret P. Battin, Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Medical Ethics, University of Utah
Source: “Euthanasia: The Way We Do It, The Way They Do It,” This recently revised version of Margaret Battin’s influential essay was originally published in Bruce N. Waller, Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues (New York: Pearson Longman, 2005); the original version of the article first appeared in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, vol. 6, no. 5 (1991): 298-305
11. Capital Punishment: Is It Appropriate for Some Crimes or Should It Be Abolished?
Capital Punishment Is Appropriate for Some Crimes
Advocate: Walter Berns,
Source: “The Morality of Anger,” from his book For Capital Punishment: Crime and the Morality of the Death Penalty (Basic Books, 1979)
Capital Punishment Should Be Abolished
Advocate: Stephen Nathanson,
Source: “The Death Penalty as a Symbolic Issue, excerpted from chapter 11 of his book, An Eye for an Eye? The Morality of Punishing by Death (Totowa, N.J.: Roman & Littlefield, 1987): 131-146
12. Campaign Finance Reform: Destruction of Freedom or Promotion of Democracy?
Destruction of Freedom
Advocate: Bobby Burchfield, Partner in the law firm Covington and Burling
Source: “Enemies of the First Amendment,” Weekly Standard, October 11, 1999: 23-25.
Promotion of Democracy
Advocate: Ronald Dworkin, Somer Professor of Law and Philosophy, XXX; and Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at University College, London.
Source: “The Curse of American Politics,” New York Review of Books, October 17, 1996: 19-24
13. Jury Nullification: Should a Jury Member Follow Her Convictions or Follow the Law?
Follow Her Convictions
Advocate: Jeffrey Abramson,
Source: We, the Jury: The Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy, Chapter 2 (New York: Basic Books, 1994)
Follow the Law
Advocate: Erick J. Haynie,
Source: “Populism, Free Speech, and the Rule of Law: The 'Fully Informed’ Jury Movement and Its Implications,” The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Volume 88, number 1, 1998
14. Inheritance Taxes: Just or Unjust?
Advocate: D. W. Haslett,
Source: “Is Inheritance Justified?” Philosophy and Public Affairs 15 (1986) 122-55
Advocate: Edward J. McCaffery, Maurice Jones, Jr. Professor of Law, University of Southern California Law School
Source: “Grave Robbers: The Moral Case Against the Death Tax,” in Policy Analysis, no. 353, October 4, 1999
15. The Military Draft: Is It Time to Restore the Draft or Should We Have an All-Volunteer Armed Forces?
It Is Time to Restore the Draft
Advocate: William A. Galston, Saul I. Stern Professor of Civic Engagement and Director of both the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
Source: Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, volume 23, number 3 (Summer 2003): 8-13
We Should Have an All-Volunteer Armed Forces
Advocate: Robert K. Fullinwider, a fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland.
Source: Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, volume 23, number 3 (Summer 2003): 2-7
16. Acts of Terrorism: Always Morally Wrong or Sometimes Morally Justified?
Always Morally Wrong
Advocate: C. A. J. (Tony) Coady, Australian Research Council Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.
Source: “Terrorism, Just War and Supreme Emergency,” in C. A. J. (Tony) Coady and Michael O’Keefe, editors, Terrorism and Justice: Moral Argument in a Threatened World (Melbourne University Press, 2002).
Sometimes Morally Justified
Advocate: Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion and Director, Dale Ethics Center, Youngstown State University
Source: “Terrorism, Innocence, and Justice,” Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, forthcoming Spring 2005.