What are examples of behaviors that might pose a strong challenge to absolutism or universalism?

Topics and Questions

Relativism And Multiculturalism
(Week One)

What should our response be to behavior in other cultures that are disturbing or seem morally wrong?

What are examples of behaviors that might pose a strong challenge to cultural relativism?

What are examples of behaviors that might pose a strong challenge to absolutism or universalism?

Are there behaviors that should be regarded as
obligatory or prohibited regardless of time, place,
culture, or any other contingent circumstance?

Should people be held responsible for immoral
Behavior when most of their community or
Culture also behaves that way?
Responsibility to Animals

(Week Two)

What does it mean to respect non human animals in the way we as individuals live our lives?

How should we weigh human needs and/or desires against those of non human animals?

What kinds of behaviors would that involve?

What kinds of behaviors would that exclude?

Is eating consuming meat and/or other animal products (dairy, eggs, leather, etc.) ethical?

Is it ethical to harm or kill animals for purposes such as scientific research?

Why do we treat some animals as pets, or even members of the family, and others simply as resources? Is there a moral justification for this distinction?

Do we as individuals have moral obligations toward non human animals when our own behavior
has very little direct effect on the overall state of things?

Does a government have an obligation to care for non human animals as well as its human citizens?

How should the answer to this question affect political policy Responsibility to the Environment

(Week Four)

What does it mean to respect the environment in the way we as individuals live our lives?

What kinds of behaviors would that involve?

What kinds of behaviors would that exclude?

Do we as individuals have moral obligations toward the environment when our own behavior
has very little direct effect on the overall state of things? (Consider the products we buy and use,
the cars we drive, the energy we consume, etc.)

How should we weigh human needs and/or desires against environmental impact?

Does a government have an obligation to care for its natural resources as well as its human
citizens?

How should the answer to this question affect political policy? End of Life Medical Issues

(Week One)
Do people have a right to end their lives whenever they choose to?

Can people be mistaken about whether their life has value and ought to be ended?

Does the answer to this question affect the answer
to the first question?

Can we set polices that determine in each case what the value of a human life is and when it
should or should not be ended?

Does the answer to this question affect the answer to the first question?

Does it make a difference whether a person’s life is
ended by an act of active killing, or whether
it is simply allowed to expire?

Does it make a difference whether the agent (i.e., the person causing the death), in either case, is
the person himself or herself or someone else (such as a doctor)?

Is there a limit to the amount of resources we should allocate toward the preservation of a life in
the face of limited resources for other healthcare needs?

Considering lives that are on the brink of death, under what circumstances (if any) would it be ethically wrong to prolong that life?

Under what circumstances (if any) would it be ethically required to prolong that life?

Under what circumstances (if any) would it be ethically required to end that life

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