Contemporary Issues

This page last modified May 3, 2010

Some materials accessible from these links were included because students should be aware of the reasoning behind views contrary to those with which they are most likely to be familiar.

A. End of (Human) Life Issues
A'. Cloning, Stem Cell Research, and Other Genetech Issues
B. Death Penalty
C. War and Terrorism
D. Civil Liberties
E. Drug Policy
F. Global Justice and Injustice
G. Sexuality
H. Racism, Discrimination, Hate Crimes, Oppression
H'. Social Justice in General
I. Business Ethics
J. Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics
K. Torture (See Civil Liberties)
L. Global Warming and Peak Oil

A. End of (Human) Life Issues

1. Some Distinctions Regarding the Termination of Human Life
2. Yanofsky's Catalogue of Physicians' Oaths
3. A Moderate Position (Yes, There is One!) on Abortion

A'. Cloning, Stem Cell Research, and Other Genetech Issues

1. Ruth Hubbard, The Mismeasure of the Gene (2003)
2. Council for Responsible Genetics, Position Paper on Human Germline Manipulation (2001)

B. Death Penalty

1. Ted Goertzel, "Capital Punishment and Homicide"
   (what scientific studies show about the alleged deterrent effect of the death penalty)
2. Maurice Possley, "Amer. Bar Assoc. calls for Moratorium on Executions"
3. Racial Bias and the Death Penalty

C. War and Terrorism

1. Just War and Self-Determination; see also Principles of the Just War
2. Terrorism (9-12-01)
3. Just War Theory (BBC web site)
4. Just War Theory Based on Human Rights (4-22-04)
5. Hans J. Morganthau: Six Principles of Political Realism (esp. #6) (link added 10-07)
6. Human Rights Watch, "War in Iraq: Not a Humanitarian Intervention" (1-04)


D. Civil Liberties

1. Reconstruction of J. S. Mill's Argument for Freedom of Expression
2. Jan Garrett, Why Bother with Free Speech in a Time of Crisis?
3. William Schulz, "The Torturer's Apprentice" (The Nation, 5/13/2002)
4. Eyal Press, "In Torture We Trust" (The Nation, 3/31/03)
5. Alan Dershowitz: Torture Could Be Justified (Kenneth Roth responds) (CNN, 3/4/03)
6. Eisler on MacKinnon on Pornography
7. Robert Bastian, Prison Abuse Begins at Home

E. Drug Policy

1. Ethan Nadelman's Drug Policy Alliance
2. Chart Comparing Addictive Qualities of Popular Drugs (link 10-28-04)
3. More Links related to Drug Policy Groups

G. Sexuality Issues

1. Ethics of Sexuality: An Introduction
2. Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions
     The Debate Over Same Sex Marriage
     Analysis of Martha Barnette's The Bogus Reasons Gays Can't Wed".
     Lisa Duggan, "Holy Matrimony!"
3. Eisler on MacKinnon on Pornography
4. On Abstinence Education (Analysis from The Nation 5-7-01)
     A. Singer, "Sex Education and America's New Puritans
      Elders, "Vows of Abstinence Break More Easily Than Condoms" (Interview)
      Resources: Comprehensive Sexuality Education

See also Abortion, Sexual Harassment

H. Hate Crimes, Racism, Sexism, Discrimination, Affirmative Action

1. Online Companion to "Race: Power of an Illusion" (link 3-9-04)
2. Hate Crimes on Campus (
3. Guidelines on Sexual Harassment
4. Summary of and Comments on K. A. Appiah, "Racisms" (11-7-01)
5. Discrimination and Affirmative Action: Some Basic Concepts (11-26-01)
6. Oppression as a Radial Category: Going Beyond Iris Young's Analysis (New: 10-5-04)

H'. Social Justice In General

1. Moyers' Interview with Bryan Stevenson and Michelle Alexander

I.Business Ethics

1. Elements of Business Ethics: The Contract and Due Care Theories (11-2-01)
2. Moral Responsibility for Overseas Sweatshops (11-9-01)
3. Rawls on Principles for Individuals: Implications for Business Ethics
4. Employee Rights: Libertarian, Contractarian, and Rawlsian Perspectives (3-27-02)
5. The Free Market and Pollution: A Comment on Narveson (11-10-05)
See also Discrimination, Sexual Harassment.

More material available from PHIL 321 Home Page.

J. Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics

1. Peter Singer, "Animal Liberation at 30 [years]" (link added 4-28-03)
   Update by the leading animal liberationist philosopher
   on the controversy surrounding "animal rights"
2. Ethical Perspectives on Ecosystem Preservation (11-30-01)
3. The Land Ethic: Ecosystems Are Worth Preserving for Their Own Sake (new 11-14-01)

L. Global Warming and Peak Oil

1. Global Warming (Natural Resources Defense Council)
2. Climate Ark: Climate Change and Global Warming Portal
3. Michael Klare, Crude Awakening (review of recent books about Peak Oil)