SOC 352M • Boundaries and Dilemmas--Honors-W
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This is a research and writing course designed to explore moral imperatives, violation of these imperatives, and perhaps most interestingly how we justify such violation. The standards are high. You will have to work hard and long. You will love it!
We will find ourselves quickly enmeshed in how law and the legal system engage moral considerations. We will come face to face with religion's influence on law. Any discussion of law, morality and religion is incomplete without consideration of interest groups and attendant issues of equality. Interests and equality imply economic relations and power. Power implies coercion, control and conflict. These general topics will be anchored in an exploration of specific topics such as eugenics, abortion, capital punishment, doctor assisted suicide, and war.
The first portion of the course will concentrate on quick overviews of specific questions. With these overviews in hand, you will be asked to break into three or four groups of five (plus or minus). Each group will choose a specific topic, such as physician assisted suicide, capital punishment, eugenics, or war. As a group you will be asked to develop a set of ideas consistent with the general framework developed in the early sessions of class.
Individually, you will be asked to write a 16-20 page paper on the chosen topic. This paper will be handed in for initial grading and editorial comment. Your grade on the initial draft will constitute 40% of your final grade. The paper will be handed back to you for revision. You will be asked to hand in the revised version at the end of class. This final version of the paper will be graded and will also constitute 40% of your grade.
The remaining 20% of your grade will come from class participation. In addition to in-class discussions and assignments, you will be asked to write amongst yourselves, via Discussion Board, about various assigned topics throughout the semester. Attendance is required. More than three unexcused absences will lower your grade one full point -- A to B, B to C etc. I know this is tough, but so am I.... Not to fear, I will make every effort to ensure classes are worth attending.
Assigned readings and questions for written discussion, via Discussion Board, will be found on