Hi-Phi Nation episodes make an ideal series of hook-stories to introduce some standard, and some surprising, contemporary moral problems. Here is a sample syllabus from which to pick and choose, along with additional readings and assignments.
War, Ethics of Killing, and Self Defense
- Soldier Philosophers 1: Moral Exploitation*-An army whistle-blower discovers the official use of torture, and a philosopher-veteran examines how moral decision-making and blame gets outsourced.
- Soldier Philosophers 2: The Morality of War*-Why ethics is mandatory for officers, and the ethics of war and self-defense, from traditional to revisionist just war theory.
- The Forever War-A retrospective on the Afghanistan War, especially concerning moral and financial costs, sunk costs, and justice and responsibility after war.
- Helen Frowe’s The Ethics of War and Peace: An Introduction
- Michael Robillard and Bradley Strawser “The Moral Exploitation of Soldiers”
- Seth Lazar’s “Evaluating the Revisionist Critique of Just War Theory”
Ethics of Policing
- The Precrime Unit*-A look at the spread of predictive policing technologies and the ethics of profiling.
- Risky Business*-The use of predictive algorithms in pre-trial detention and sentencing, and whether future danger can justify imprisonment.
- Police Discretion-The history of fourth amendment litigation in Supreme Court giving increasing power to police, and a Rawlsian approach to political ethics of police discretion.
- The Informant-The use of informant deals in sting and undercover operations, and the tension between police discretion and the rule of law.
- Judith Jarvis Thomson, “Liability and Individualized Evidence,”
- Christopher New, “Time and Punishment”.
- Saul Smilanksy, “The Time to Punish”.
- Christopher New, “Punishing Times: Reply to Smilansky”.
- Neven Sesardić’s “Is Racial Profiling a Legitimate Strategy in the Fight against Violent Crime?”
- Annabelle Lever’s “Race and Racial Profiling”.
What Should be the Definition of “Woman” for Law and Sports?
- For Women Only Part 1-Our first part on gender ontology by looking at the origins of radical feminist critiques of transgenderism and the founding of transgender studies.
- For Women Only Part 2-The second part on gender ontology, focusing on the gender-identity certificates in the UK and the many definitions of “woman” over the various waves of feminism.
- Readings for gender recognition in law and society on show pages.
- Alice Dreger “Sex Typing for Sport”
- Claudia Weisemann “Is there a Right not to Know One’s Sex, The Ethics of ‘Gender Verification’ in Women’s Sports.”
- Taryn Knox, Lynley C. Anderson, & Alison Heather’s “Transwomen in elite sport: scientific and ethical considerations”.
Does Democracy Rest on a Mistake?
- The Chamber of Facts*-Do people of different political parties live in alternative realities? We look at the research, and the theory of belief, that suggest the answer to be complicated.
- The Demons of Democracy*-We go into democratic schools, and look at American voters, to see whether decision-making in the hands of the ignorant is good or bad.
- Annabelle Lever’s “Compulsory Voting: A Critical Perspective”.
- Paul Gunn’s “Against Epistocracy”
- Piero Moraro’s “Against Epistocracy”
Should we Punish Wrongdoing?
- Gender Justice-The use of police and prosecutorial discretion to prosecute domestic violence and sexual assault in the interest of a more feminist state, and its contribution to mass incarceration.
- Punishment without End-The story of a girl picked up for cocaine trafficking, and whether collateral consequences after prison should count as part of official punishment.
- Justice and Retribution-Prison abolitionism and its philosophical basis; the case for and against retributive justice.
- Michelle Madden Dempsey’s “Prosecuting Domestic Violence”
- Chloe Taylor’s “Anti-Carceral Feminism and Sexual Assault—A Defense.”
- Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?
- Michael S. Moore, “The Moral Worth of Retribution”
- Jean Hampton “The Moral Education Theory of Punish
- Russ Shafer- Landau, ‘The Failure of Retributivism”
- Heidi Hurd, ‘The Morality of Mercy’
- Heather Strang and Lawrence W. Sherman, “Repairing Harm: Victims and Restorative Justice”
Should we Treat Addiction as a Disease or a Voluntary Act?
- Willful Acts*-Two cases of litigation on whether addiction should be an excuse in the law, and the disease/choice distinction in the theory of action.
- Hannah Picard’s “The Puzzle of Addiction”
- JAMA article titled “Drug Dependence, a Chronic Medical Illness: Implication for Treatment, Insurance, and Outcomes Evaluation”, McLellan et al
- Harold Kincaid and Jacqueline Anne Sullivan’s “Medical Models of Addiction”
- Michael S. Moore “Addiction and Responsibility”
How Far Should Property Rights Extend?
- The Wishes of the Dead*-The story of the Hershey chocolate fortune, and why the state enforces the wishes of the dead contrary to those of the living.
- Freedom and Hostile Design*-A theory of awesomeness and suckiness, and how it manifest in urban design against homelessness.
- Barry Lam’s “The Invisible Hand from the Grave”
- David Boonin’s Dead Wrong: The Ethics of Posthumous Harm
- Jeremy Waldron’s “Homelessness and the Issue of Freedom”
Free Speech and Civility
- No Offense-A man sues another for calling him a racial slur, and the tricky balance between harm and freedom of speech in two political societies.
- Uncivil Disobedience-Vegan activism in Australia is getting disruptive and uncivil. Do causes ever justify the means?
- Plethora of readings on free speech and uncivil protest on the show pages.