Spring 2014 Ethics Suggested Projects and Topics

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Suggested Projects and Topics

I'll add project and topic ideas to this list as we proceed. Here are some general topics:

  1. Most of our course readings can be pursued in greater depth for research papers or critical analysis papers.
  2. You might want to research cultural moral differences between the US and Europe or between the US and Italy. Italians, for example, have distinctive social values and political values. These are all good areas of inquiry for ethics.
  3. Dan Ariely's article on cheating report research from the field of "behavioral economics". Looking into this field and other research results of Ariely's and others. Check out Ariely on TED.
  4. Jonathan Hait's book, The Righteous Mind raises the question of how our morality and politics are related. There are lots of paper topics here: Do political differences related to objective moral differences? In other words, should democrats and republicans think of themselves as more or less right or wrong, or is that somehow a mistaken way to think about political differences?
  5. Read more about feminist critique of Kohlberg and the "ethics of care". Also track feminist critics of Gilligan.
  6. Singer's article, Chatper 1: About Ethics, from Practical Ethics, raises a number of topics for papers: You could explore the question of the relationship between religion and ethics by reading, for example, the Euthyphro, a great little Platonic dialogue. You could explore relativism more.
  7. Reconstruct and assess Aristotle's theory of virtue as a "golden mean" between extremes of emotion.
  8. Is Aristotle right to say that there is a virtue for anger?
  9. For a short class presentation or a research paper, look into the prisoner's dilemma further, especially research with "iterated versions" of it and see how it is used in moral theory.
  10. Either of the response articles to de Waal would make a great CA paper in connection with the original de Waal essay. Take 1/2 the paper to reconstruct de Waal and the response article and 1/2 to analyze the arguments.
  11. Develope your views on theories of punishment, perhaps by including considerations such as the NYer article, "The Biology of Violence" and Rachels, Ch. 10. You are welcome to make quick research inquiries on claims related to your theory.