Philosophy 190-3

Spring 2011

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
RELI 190-3 Topics in Religious Studies: Ethics of Rights, Gender, and Global Justice: East and West Bilimoria MW 4-5:30 110 Wheeler

NOTE: For the Spring 2011 semester, this Religious Studies course may be used as an upper-division Philosophy elective towards the Major.

The course focuses on major founding insights, principles and practical explication of the ethics of rights and ideas on justice, both in Western and Eastern traditions and in- between (Hellenistic, Indian, Chinese, Postcolonial). The course examines the foundational basis in morality for cultural values, religious beliefs and practices, law, justice and human rights, and ecological attitudes, as these have developed from classical to contemporary times, in religions and secular idelogies. Following a survey of key Western moral systems, beginning with their religious roots, including ideas of justice and liberalism, and their critiques (Plato, Socrates, Augustine, Grotius, Kant, Hegel, Mills, MacIntyre, Williams, Rawls, Nozick, Cavell, Sen, Nussbaum), the course critically engages Hindu, Buddhist-Jaina (Dharma) ethics, and their responses to the Asia’s moral, social and legal challenges. Similar issues are examined in the context of the dynastic and Confucian vs Daoist debates in Chinese texts. In terms of structure, the theoretical part of the course will map the formative impact of competing ethical theories that have determined the culture, or have in turn been criticized and transformed in their respective intellectual histories. The latter part will center on practical moral issues, particularly the dialectics of caste/class hierarchy versus autonomy of the individual, despotic governance vs democratic/liberal processes, rights trumping rites (duties), patriarchy vs gender justice, virtues vs instrumentalism, normativity vs intuition, as well as bioethical, animal and environmental issues. How the cultures of East & West, comparatively, have meet these challenges amidst diversity and plurality of communities, moral ideals, legal systems and practices is a question that will also inform the inquiry.