Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
Page Course Terms of Use
1.1: What Does "Ethics" Mean? Page Jonathan Haidt's "The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives"

Watch this lecture, which discusses what morals liberals and conservatives value the most.

URL Lander University: Lee Archie and John G. Archie's "Introduction to Ethical Studies: An Open Source Reader"

Read Part I, Chapters 1-6.

URL Santa Clara University: Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J. and Michael J. Meyer's: "What Is Ethics?"

Read this article.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "What Is the Right Thing to Do?"

Watch this video.

1.2: Ethical Oversight in Domestic Politics URL U.S. Government Accountability Office: "About GAO"

Read this overview of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Page Santa Clara University: Judy Nadler's "Doing the Job Right: Best Practices for Everyday Decision Making in the Public Sector"

Watch this video.

URL Wright State University: "U.S. Government Ethics Standards"

Read this introduction.

URL Pfeiffer University: Max Weber's "Politics as a Vocation"

Read this article.

1.3: Ethical Oversight in International Politics URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: James Nickel's "Human Rights"

Read this article for a general discussion on human rights as well as international human rights laws and organizations.

URL The United Nations: "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights"

Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

URL U.S. State Department: "Human Rights in Brief"

Read this document.

Page Amnesty International: "2009 Global Status of Human Rights"

Watch this video.

URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Michael Blake's "International Justice"

Read this article.

2.1: Ethical Decision-Making Frameworks Page Santa Clara University: "Five Ways to Think Ethically"

Watch this video, which discusses five approaches to ethics.

URL Santa Clara University: "A Framework for Ethical Decision Making"

Read this article, which discusses the five approaches to ethical standards: Utilitarian Approach, Rights Approach, Fairness and Justice Approach, Common Good Approach, and Virtue Approach. 

2.2: The Common Good Approach Page Center for American Progress: "What Is 'The Common Good?'"

Watch this video.

Page Fox News Channel: "What Is The Common Good?"

Watch this video.

URL Lander University: Lee Archie and John G. Archie's "Introduction to Ethical Studies: An Open Source Reader"

Read Part III, Chapter 16.

URL Santa Clara University: Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J., and Michael J. Meyer's "The Common Good"

Read this article.

URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Daniel Bell's "Communitarianism"

Read this article.

2.3: The Fairness or Justice Approach URL Santa Clara University: Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J. and Michael J. Meyer's "Justice and Fairness"

Read this article.

URL John Kilcullen's "Rawls: The Original Position"

This blog post is in both French and English, with the French version appearing first. Read this article in your preferred language.

URL Lander University: Lee Archie and John G. Archie's "Introduction to Ethical Studies: An Open Source Reader"

Read Part IV, Chapters 18-22. 

URL Santa Clara University: Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J. and Michael J. Meyer's "Ethical Relativism"

Read this article on ethical relativism.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "A Lesson in Lying/A Deal is a Deal"

Watch this lecture.

2.4: The Utilitarian Approach URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's "Consequentialism"

Read this article on the approach in which consequences matter in decision-making.

URL Santa Clara University: Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J. and Michael J. Meyer's "Calculating Consequences: The Utilitarian Approach to Ethics"

Read this article on the Utilitarian Approach.

URL Jeremy Bentham's "Principles of Morals and Legislation (1780)"

Read this excerpt from Jeremy Bentham.

URL John Stuart Mill's "Utilitarianism (1863)"

Read this excerpt from John Stuart Mill.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "Putting a Price Tag on Life/How to Measure Pleasure"

Watch this lecture.

URL Lander University: Lee Archie and John G. Archie's "Introduction to Ethical Studies: An Open Source Reader"

Read Part V, Chapter 25.

2.5: The Virtue Approach URL Santa Clara University: Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J. and Michael J. Meyer's "Ethics and Virtue"

Read this article.

URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Steven Wall's "Perfectionism in Moral and Political Philosophy"

Read this article.

Page Edwin Hartman's "Teaching Virtue Ethics"

Watch this video.

2.6: The Rights Approach URL Santa Clara University: Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J. and Michael J. Meyer's "Rights"

Read this article.

URL Immanuel Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals

Read the Preface and all three Sections of Kant's work.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "Mind Your Motive"

Watch this lecture.

Unit 2 Assessment URL Framework Matching Quiz

Complete the quiz. Once you have done so, please grade yourself according to the answer key.

3.1: The First Amendment URL Henry Cohen's "Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment"

Read this article.  

URL The Open University: David Edmonds, Nigel Warburton, and Thomas Scanlon's "Free Speech"

Read the transcript for this lecture.

URL Paula Tompkins' "Exploring the Tension between the First Amendment and Ethics in the Case of 'Outing'"

Read this article.

URL Cornell University Law School: "Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989)"

Read this case.

URL First Amendment Center: Scott Felsenthal's "Profanity and the First Amendment"

Read this article.

URL Stanford Encylcopedia of Philosophy: Gerald Gaus and Shane D. Courtland's "Liberalism"

Read this article, which focuses on several debates on liberalism.

3.2: The Second Amendment URL William J. Krause's "Gun Control Legislation"

Read this article.

URL Elijah Weber's "Issues in a Liberal Society: Gun Control"

Read this article.

URL PBS: "Gun Control"

Watch this video.

URL PBS: "Pastors and Guns"

Watch this video.

3.3: Punishment of Criminal Offenders and the Criminal Justice System URL PBS: "Prisoner Reentry"

Watch this video.

URL PBS: "Juvenile Sentencing Decision"

Watch this video.

URL ProCon.org: "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"

Read this article and each of the linked questions pertaining to the death penalty.

URL ProCon.org: "Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote?"

Read this article and each of the linked questions pertaining to allowing felons to vote after they have served their terms of punishment.

3.4: The Legalization of Drugs URL Drug Enforcement Agency: "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization"

Read this article.

URL PBS: "Legalizing Marijuana"

Watch this video.

3.5: Illegal Immigration URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Christopher Heath Wellman's "Immigration"

Read this article, which addresses several sides of the topic of immigration.

URL Andorra Bruno's "Unauthorized Aliens in the United States"

Read this report on the issue of illegal immigration in the United States.

URL ProCon.org: "What Are the Solutions to Illegal Immigration in America?"

Read this article and each of its linked questions pertaining to the scope of issues regarding illegal immigration and possible solutions to these problems.

Unit 3 Assessment URL Draft a Policy Memo: Individual Liberty, Public Safety, and Justice

Draft a 1- to 2-page memo based on the prompts and instructions contained in the assignment. Once you have done so, please grade yourself according to the grading rubric.

4.1: Taxes and Tax Reform URL Internal Revenue Service: "Comparing Regressive, Progressive, and Proportional Taxes"

Read this article.

URL Cornell University Law School: "Income Tax Law: An Overview"

Read this article.

URL James M. Bickley's "Tax Reform: An Overview of Proposals in the 112th Congress"

Read this report.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "Free to Choose/Who Owns Me?"

Watch this lecture.

URL Principles of Economics: "Chapter 15, Section 2 and Chapter 19, Section 1"

Read these sections. Attempt the "Try It" problems at the end of each reading, and then check your solutions with the Answer Keys at the end of each page.

4.2: EEO Compliance URL U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: "Laws and Guidance"

Read this article.

URL U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: "Enforcement Guidance: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship under the Americans with Disabilities Act"

Read this article.

URL Anti-Defamation League: "Religious Accommodation in the Workplace: Your Rights and Obligations"

Read this article.

Page Federal Judicial Center: "Basics of Employment Discrimination for Law Clerks"

Watch this video.

4.3: Affirmative Action URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Robert Fullinwider's "Affirmative Action"

Read this article.

URL U.S. Department of Labor: "Affirmative Action"

Read this article.

URL S. Plous' "Ten Myths about Affirmative Action"

Read this article.

URL Aristotle's The Politics: Book One and Book Three

Read all of Book One of Aristotle's The Politics. Then, read Chapters 1 through 13 (I through XIII) of Book Three.

URL United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: Cheryl J. Hopwood v. State of Texas

Read the following segments from the US Court of Appeals' decision in the case of Hopwood v. Texas: sections I, II, and III (A.) on pages 1-34. Then, skip ahead and read part VI on pages 67-70. 

URL The Supreme Court of the United States: Grutter v. Bollinger

Read the syllabus of Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision handed down in Hopwood.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "Arguing Affirmative Action/What's the Purpose?"

Watch this lecture.

Unit 4 Assessment URL Draft a Policy Memo: Income Taxation, EEO Compliance, and Affirmative Action

Follow the instructions to draft a 1 to 2-page memo based on the given prompts. Once you have done so, please grade yourself according to the grading rubric.

5.1: Social Security and Health Insurance URL The U.S. Social Security Administration: "Historical Background and Development of Social Security"

Read this article.

URL ProCon.org: "Should Social Security Be Privatized?"

Read this article and the linked questions pertaining to the privatization of social security.

URL ProCon.org: "Should All Americans Have the Right (be Entitled) to Health Care?"

Read the article and each of the linked questions pertaining to health care.

URL ProCon.org: "Are the March 2010 Federal Health Care Reform Laws Good for America?"

Read this article and each of the linked questions pertaining to health care reform.

Page Milton Friedman's "The Social Security Myth" and PBS: "Social Security Empty?"

Watch these videos.

URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Julian Lamont and Christi Favor's "Distributive Justice"

Read this article.

5.2: Poverty in America URL U.S. Census Bureau: "Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Poverty, 2009–2011"

Read this report.

URL U.S. Census Bureau: "Poverty: 2008 and 2009 American Community Survey"

Read this report.

URL Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "Poverty in America: One Nation, Pulling Apart"

Explore this page and read the articles in it.

Page Michael Woodruff's "Poverty in America: Why Are They Poor?"

Watch this video.

URL Marian Wright Edelman's "A Course for the Next Generation"

Watch this video.

URL Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson's "Winner-Take-All Politics: Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States"

Read this article.

5.3: Dilemmas Involving Illness and Infirmity URL ProCon.org: "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"

Read the article and each of the linked questions pertaining to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

URL Alicia Curtis' "Involuntary Commitment"

Read this article.

URL National Coalition for Homeless Veterans: "Background and Statistics"

Read this page, which provides statistics on homeless veterans.

6.1: Marriage and Other Consensual Adult Relationships URL U.S. Supreme Court: "Loving v. Virginia (1967)"

Read Justice Warren's opinion of the Loving v. Virginia case about granting marriages based on racial classifications.

URL U.S. Supreme Court: "Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)"

Read Justice Kennedy's opinion on the Lawrence v. Texas case about whether same-sex intimate acts should be illegal.

URL Alison M. Smith's "Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues"

Read this report.

URL Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2003)

Read C.J. Marshall's opinion on the Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, tried at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

URL ProCon.org: "Should Gay Marriage be Legal?"

Read this article and the linked questions pertaining to the legality of gay marriage.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "Debating Same-Sex Marriage/The Good Life"

Watch this video.

URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: John Christman's "Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy"

Read this article on the concept of autonomy in philosophy and politics.

6.2: Parent/Child Relationships URL "In the Matter of Baby 'M' (1988)"

Read C.J. Willentz's opinion on the case of baby "M".

URL "Speagle v. Seitz, 345 NC 525 (2001)"

Read the Supreme Court of North Carolina's case on parental rights.

URL UNC Greensboro: Jane E. Myers' "Grandparents Affected by Parental Divorce: A Population at Risk?"

Read this article.

URL Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute: Grayce P. Storey's "Ethical Problems Surrounding Surrogate Motherhood"

Read this article.

Page Michael Sandel's "Ethics of Outsourcing Pregnancy to India" and Arthur Caplan's "The Ethics of Genetically Engineering Children"

Watch these videos.

6.3: Contraception and Abortion URL U.S. Supreme Court: Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)

Read the Supreme Court case about the issue of contraception.

URL ProCon.org: "Should Abortion Be Legal?"

Read this article and the linked questions on the legality of abortion.

Page Elizabeth Collins' "Contraception and Abortion"

Watch this video.

Unit 6 Assessment URL Draft a Policy Memo: Care for the Poor, Sick, Elderly, and Infirm

For this assessment, you will draft a 1- to 2-page memo based on the prompts and instructions provided. Once you have done so, please grade yourself according to the accompanying guide to responding.

7.1: Conventional Combat and Intelligence Operations URL BBC: "Ethics of War"

Read each of the sections on this page.

URL International Court of Justice: "Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict"

Read this opinion.

URL Michael N. Schmitt's "Precision Attack and International Humanitarian Law"

Read this article.

Page Case Western Reserve University: "The Ethics of War in the 21st Century: Law, Policy, and Practice"

Watch this video.

URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: C.A.J. Coady's "The Problem of Dirty Hands"

Read this article.

7.2: Nonconventional Combat and Intelligence Operations URL Jennifer K. Elsea and Michael John Garcia's "Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court"

Read this report.

URL U.S. Supreme Court: "Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006)"

Read this case.

File The Journal of Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine: Abraham L. Halpern, John H. Halpern, and Sean B. Doherty's "'Enhanced' Interrogation of Detainees: Do Psychologists and Psychiatrists Participate?"

Read this article.

URL Martin L. Cook's "Ethical Issues in Counterterrorism Warfare"

Read this article on the ethical issues of a "war against terrorism".

URL Peter Simpson's "The War on Terrorism: Its Moral Justification and Limits"

Read this article about the morality of the "war against terrorism".

URL PBS: "The Moral Debate about Torture"

Watch this video.

7.3: Gender and Sexual Preference Issues in the Military URL David F. Burrelli and Jody Feder's "Homosexuals and the U.S. Military: Current Issues"

Read this report.

8.1: Ethics and Foreign Relations URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Seth Lazar's "War"

Read this article.

URL The Foreign Policy Association: "How U.S. Foreign Policy Is Made"

Read this brief overview of U.S. foreign policy-making.

URL Craig Hayden's "Do Ethics Trump Foreign Policy Goals in Public Diplomacy?"

Read this article.

URL Luisa Blanchfield's "The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): Issues in the U.S. Ratification Debate"

Read this report.

Page Carnegie Council: "Do People Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy?" and "The US: Shedding Hegemony with Grace"

Watch these videos.

8.2: Ethics, Foreign Trade, and Economic Development URL Curt Tarnoff and Marian Leonardo Lawson's "Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy"

Read this report.

URL William H. Cooper's "Free Trade Agreements: Impact on U.S. Trade and Implications for U.S. Trade Policy"

Read this report.

URL Luisa Blanchfield and Marian Leonardo Lawson's "The Millennium Development Goals: The September 2010 U.N. High-Level Meeting"

Read this report.

Page Carnegie Council: "Chinese Currency and Ethics"

Watch this video.

Page Venice International University: Dr. Wilhelm Vossenkuhl's "Ethical Problems in Globalization & Theories of Justice from Aristotle to Rawls"

Watch this video.

Page Columbia University: Tarja Halonen's "The Millennium Development Goals: Social Justice and Promotion of Equality"

Watch this video.

8.3: Military Intervention in Foreign Affairs URL U.S. State Department: "Human Rights in Brief"

Read this report.

URL PBS: "Moral Questions and Military Intervention"

Watch this video.

URL PBS: Nicholas Fotion's "No Good Comes from Not Intervening"

Read this article.

URL PBS: "Moral Questions and Libya Intervention"

Watch this video.

Page Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "The Claims of the Community/Where our Loyalty Lies"

Watch this video.

Unit 8 Assessment URL Draft a Policy Memo: National Security, Foreign Relations, Foreign Trade, Foreign Aid, and Military Intervention

For this assessment, you will draft a 1- to 2-page memo based on the prompts and instructions contained in the assignment. Once you have done so, check your work against the guide to responding.

9.1: Ethics and the Free Market URL ProCon.org: "Should the Big Three Car Manufacturers Be Bailed Out by the US Government?"

Read these articles about the federal government bailout of auto manufacturers.

URL Tom Armistead's "Jungle Ethics Financialism vs. Free Market Capitalism"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Daniel Klein's "How Trust Is Achieved in Free Markets"

Read this article.

URL John R. Thomas's "The Role of Trade Secrets in Innovation Policy"

Read this report.

URL Renée Johnson's "Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity"

Read this report.

URL Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Alan Wertheimer's "Exploitation"

Read this article.

9.2: Government Ethics and Information Technology URL Santa Clara University: "The Ethics and Politics of Search Engines"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: "Unavoidable Ethical Questions about Social Networking"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Joseph Westfall's "Cybersmut"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Joseph Westfall's "Privacy: Electronic Information and the Individual"

Read this article.

URL Jonathan Zittrain's "The Future of the Internet"

Watch this video.

URL PBS: Bill Moyers' "Net Neutrality"

Read this article.

9.3: Government Ethics and Medicine URL Santa Clara University: Brenda Everling's "Evolving Vaccine Trials: Adaptive Informed Consent in the Global Context"

Read this article and view the associated Powerpoint presentation.

URL Santa Clara University: Karen Peterson-Iyer's "Pharmacogenomics, Ethics, and Public Policy"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Margaret R. McLean's "The Future of Food: An Introduction to the Ethical Issues in Genetically Modified Foods"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Margaret R. McLean's "What We Know Outstrips What We Can Do"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Sally Lehrman's "IPS Stem Cells: New Ethical Quandaries"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Lawrence J. Nelson's "A Brief Case for the Moral Permissibility of Stem Cell Research"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Robin K. Sterns' "Double or Nothing"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Henry T. Greely's "Neuroethics: The Neuroscience Revolution, Ethics, and the Law"

Read this article.

URL Kathleen S. Swendiman's "Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws"

Read this report.

Page Dr. Edward McCabe's "Ethical/Policy Challenges of Advanced Genetic Screening"

Watch this video.

Unit 9 Assessment URL Draft a Policy Memo: Science, Technology, and Commerce

For this assessment, you will draft a 1- to 2-page memo based on the prompts and instructions contained in the assignment. Once you have done so, check your work against the guide to responding.

10.1: Ethics and Daily Operations of Government URL Santa Clara University: Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman's "What is Government Ethics?"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman's "Whistle Blowing in the Public Sector"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman's "Favoritism, Cronyism, and Nepotism"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman's "The Personal Lives of Public Officials"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman's "Lobbying Ethics"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman's "Gifts and Bribes"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: "New Unavoidable Ethical Dilemmas for Elected Officials"

Read this article.

URL Santa Clara University: Miriam Schulman's "Thinking Ethically about Government Pensions"

Read this article.

Page Dartmouth College: Melanie Sloan's "Can the Government Be Trusted to Oversee Itself?"

Watch this lecture.

10.2: Ethics, Lobbying, Elections, and Campaign Finance Issues URL The Center for Responsive Politics: "Ten Things You Should Know"

Read this article. You must click the arrow in the top-right area to navigate through all ten webpages.

URL Harper's Magazine: Kenneth Silverstein's "Their Men in Washington: Undercover with D.C.'s Lobbyists for Hire"

Read this article.

URL Washington Post: Robert O'Harrow Jr., Kimberly Kindy, and Dan Keating's "Rise in Stock Ownership among Lawmakers Brings Ethics Concerns"

Read this article.

URL R. Sam Garrett's "The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress"

Read this report.

URL Jacob R. Straus' "Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change"

Read this report.

URL Jack Maskell's "Grassroots Lobbying: Constitutionality of Disclosure Requirements"

Read this report.

URL U.S. Supreme Court: "Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009)"

Read this case.

Page Santa Clara University: Tom Hoog's "Ethical Conflicts and Dilemmas of Lobbying"

Watch this video.

Page Federal Election Commission: "FEC and the Federal Campaign Finance Law"

Watch this video.

Page CATO Institute: Bradley A. Smith's "Campaign Finance Reform and Free Speech"

Watch this video.

Unit 10 Assessment URL Draft a Policy Memo: Operations of Government, Lobbying, Campaigns and Elections

For this assessment, you will draft a 1- to 2-page memo based on the prompts and instructions contained in the assignment. Once you have done so, check your work against the guide to responding.

Study Guide Book Study Guide for POLSC401: Ethics and Public Policy
Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey