This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the g...more
The course is an introduction to Dante and his cultural milieu through a critical reading of the Divine Comedy and selected minor works (Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia, Epistle to Cangrande). An analysis of Dante's autobiography, the Vita nuova, establishes the poetic and political circumstances of the Comedy's composition. Readings of Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise seek to situate Dante's work within the intellectual and soc...more
Intensive examination of ethical and policy issues arising from interaction of media institutions (print, film, broadcasting, and new technologies) and societal institutions (Congress, federal agencies, courts, Presidency, schools, churches, political action groups, advertisers, and audiences).
In this introduction to ethics, we shall be considering the underpinnings of ethical thought. We shall consider, for example, what it is for an action to be right or wrong, whether we can have moral knowledge and whether freewill is essential to morality. We shall reflect on four key ethical theories (virtue ethics, deontology, non-cognitivism and utilitarianism), looking at both their strengths and their weaknesses. We shall be looking at...more
Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform (PLSC 270) Jim Alexander, former CFO of the Enron subsidiary Enron Global Power and Pipeline, offers an insider's account of Enron's corporate culture and operations before the company's spectacular fall. The leaders of Enron, Mr. Alexander asserts, disregarded concerns over the company's ethics. Enron strategically found and exploited loopholes in accounting regulations to make their transactions as...more
Taking off from a 2007 Gresham lecture "Stealing the Silver: How We Take From The Dispossessed, The Poor and Our Own Children", Michael intends to further explore equitable inter-generational economics. Starting with natural resources and long-lived infrastructure projects, then moving on to savings, business and fashion, we see a variety of commercial arrangements. But which ones are long-lasting? Which arrangements are fair to futu...more
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, carried out in Macon, Alabama, from 1932 to 1972, is a notorious episode in the checkered history of medical experimentation. In one of the most economically disadvantaged parts of the U.S., researchers deceived a group of 399 black male syphilitics into participating in a study with no therapeutic value. These "volunteers" were not treated as patients, but rather as experimental subjects, or walking cadavers. ...more
In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan offers a sketch of the Greek heroic code of ethics. He shows that in this community,Â arÃªteÂ (manly virtue) and honor are extremely important and even worth dying for, as the case of Achilles makes clear. In addition, Professor Kagan shows how this society eventually produced a new phenomenon, the rise of theÂ polis. The discussion ends with a strong emphasis on the importance of theÂ polisÂ in Gree...more
August 31, 2006 presentation by Julie Baker and Hank Greely for the Stanford University Office of Science Outreach's Summer Science Lecture Series. Julie Baker, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Hank Greely, Professor of Law and Genetics discuss human embryonic stem cells, one of the most promising, most complicated and most controversial areas of contemporary biomedical research.
In the final lecture of the course, the analysis of Samson Agonistes comes to a conclusion with an exploration of the poem's sexual imagery. Milton's choice of subject matter is puzzled over, as are the ethics of his tragic hero, particularly when compared to the heroes of Milton's previous epics. The poem is positioned as a means by which Milton ultimately resolves the poetic, religious, and career-related crises of his earlier poem, "The...more
In the first of a series of lectures on the book of Genesis, the basic elements of biblical monotheism are compared with Ancient Near Eastern texts to show a non-mythological, non-theogonic conception of the deity, a new conception of the purpose and meaning of human life, nature, magic and myth, sin and evil, ethics (including the universal moral law) and history. The two creation stories are explored and the work of Nahum Sarna is introduced.
We can't legislate against historical trends in the global age, but we can look more closely at the well-networked superclass - those who have broad influence across international borders on a regular basis. The Superclass has money, power, and influence - but it's woefully short on ethics in the global interest. Author David Rothkopf describes this influential core of the global power structure and stresses that economic prosperity can't ...more