REL 3170: Religious Ethics and Moral Problems

Advice on writing papers

Link to the Syllabus

Revision Questions for Beyond Religion, part 1.
Revision Questions for Beyond Religion, part 2.

Web Readings:

Isis Is A Revolution. by Scott Atran

What Isis Really Wants
by Graeme Wood

The Moral Instinct Steven Pinker reviews the case for supposing ethics has a biological basis, and examines the implications. Useful guide for the latest thinking on whether ethics can be grounded in a universal human nature.

Veritatis Splendor: Intro, Chapter I, Chapter II

Veritatis Splendor: Chapter III, Conclusion.


van den Haag on Capital Punishment.
Bedau on Capital Punishment.
Mill on Capital Punishment

(Optional reading: Weatherford on Capital Punishmet.)

The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis

For the next two articles, you will require your FSU username and password.
FSU-Proxy Server

Can the East Help the West to Value Nature?

Can the East help the West to value nature ?, Holmes Rolston. III, Philosophy East and West 
Vol.37 No.2 (April 1987) , pp.172-190

Towards a Buddhist Environmental Ethic

Toward a Buddhist Environmental Ethic, Rita M. Gross, Journal of the American Academy of Religion ,
Vol. 65, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 333-353

The Iliad VI Read the sections entitled "Hector Rouses Paris" and "Hector Speaks With Andromache."
The Symposium (read from 'I not only permit but exhort you to speak the truth' to the end).

The Arabian Nights (Intro and The Story of the Ass and the Bull)

Papers are worth only 20% of the final grade: much more important are the quizzes.

Here is a link to sample questions from previous quizzes. These sample questions should give you an idea of the kind of thing I will ask about. It is possible that a couple of the questions on the quiz will be taken from this list, because there are only so many things you can ask about a book. Also, I do not want the sample questions to be a list of things you don't need to know.

REL 3170: Revision List for Quiz 1

Ethics and the New Millennium:

Spirituality and Religion: the difference.
Buddhist concepts including Shen-pen kyi sem, kun long, Shen dug ngal wa mi sö pa, nying je, nyong mong, ‘skilful means and insight’, chi sem.
The Dalai Lama’s recommendations on topics of war, religion and society and the environment, and his recipe for happiness.

Veritatis Splendor:

The role of Natural Law, including the meaning of ‘intrinsic moral evil’ and the actions that the Pope describes.
The concept of phronesis (understanding of which is presupposed).
The relationship of Veritatis Splendor to enlightenment thinking, particularly the discussion about the true nature of autonomy, and the connection proposed by the Pope between freedom and truth.
The Pope’s criticisms of Proportionalism and Consequentialism.
The place of the encyclical in 20th Century Catholic thinking, including the significance of Humanae Vitae.


Difficulties in defining ‘lying.’
Equivocation and reservation: what they mean, and associated problems.
Basic reasons for preferring a policy of honesty (e.g. harm that comes from lying, intrinsic connection between meaning and truth).
Reasons that have been proposed for telling lies in politics (the public good), medicine (protecting patients) and social science (necessity for experiments), along with reactions to these reasons.

Situation Ethics:
Different views of Montgomery and Fletcher on the role of Jesus as Savior
Relation between Situation Ethics and Utilitarianism
Definitions of 'Love', 'Justice' and relativity

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