California state university northridge department of religious studies

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RS 361OL: Contemporary Ethical Issues

Ticket Numbers 14382 and 18731

Spring 2015

Collaborate Sessions: Fridays, 11:00 AM-1:45 PM


Dr. James D. Findlay, Instructor

Office Hours, M/W 9:45-10:45AM, Mon. 2:45-3:45 PM ONLINE, or by appointment.

Office: SN 233. Telephone: 818-677-2742


Course Description: This course takes a multi-faceted approach to the study, exploration, and practice of ethics and ethical decision-making. We will begin by exploring what ethics is, and some different forms it has taken over time. Then, we will apply principles and positions in making ethical judgments to a range of current issues. We will focus especially on matters related to contemporary life in an inter-connected globalizing world, as well as how students can wisely and effectively shape their own decisions in their careers and lives as citizens of a complex and diversifying society.

In the process of exploring ethical issues, both individually and in conversation and dialogue, we shall examine a range of traditions, while keeping in mind that each of us is responsible for our own lives and our place in the world and on the Planet Earth. Thus, the course seeks to utilize insights from the past, including major religious and philosophical traditions, sort out various conflicting claims, and ultimately empower each student to develop his/her own thinking and action in contemporary society.

Student Learning Outcomes for RS 361: Contemporary Ethical Issues

Emphasizes the development of skills in critical thinking through analysis of such contemporary ethical issues as abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, sexual behavior, racism, gender bias, punishment, animal rights, the environment, and the relationships between religion and morality.

1) Students will be able to articulate, orally and in writing, the diversity and distinctiveness of the moral values implicit in and the ethical arguments currently employed within various religious and secular traditions.
2) Students will demonstrate an understanding of the influence of diverse religious and secular traditions on moral attitudes and behaviors.
3) Students will be able to develop oral and written proposals for resolving current moral dilemmas in society.
4) Students will be able to recognize and critically evaluate their own and others’ assumptions and biases as they play a role in - - and sometimes distort - - their thinking.
5) Students will demonstrate oral communication skills and mindful listening through conversations in the classroom about the moral values and forms of ethical thinking of fellow students.

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files -> Dr amanda wise & dr jan ali commonwealth of Australia 2008

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