In the Ancient Greek world (the world of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, often regarded as the birthplace of philosophy) a “symposium” was a banquet held after a meal, an “after party” of sorts that usually included drinking, dancing, recitals and engaging conversations on the topics of the day.
For our purposes in this course, the Symposium discussions will not involve dancing, recitals or a banquet, but they will provide food for thought on current ethical issues and direct application of the ethical theory discussed in each of these weeks.
It is almost impossible these days to turn on the news or log onto social media without encountering a controversy that cries out for ethical discussion. For these Symposium discussions, your instructor will choose a topic of current ethical interest and a resource associated with it for you to read or watch. Your task is to consider how the ethical theory of the week might be used to examine, understand or evaluate the issue.
This week, you will consider how deontology applies to a controversy, dilemma, event, or scenario selected by your instructor. It is a chance for you to discuss together the ethical issues and questions that it raises, your own response to those, and whether that aligns with or does not align with a deontological approach. The aim is not to simply assert your own view or to denigrate other views, but to identify, evaluate, and discuss the moral reasoning involved in addressing the chosen issue.
Your posts should remain focused on the ethical considerations, and at some point in your contribution you must specifically address the way someone with a deontological view would approach this issue by explaining and evaluating that approach.
If you have a position, you should strive to provide reasons in defense of that position.
When responding to peers, you should strive to first understand the reasons they are offering before challenging or critiquing those reasons. One good way of doing this is by summarizing their argument before offering a critique or evaluation.
You must post on at least two separate days, must include at least one substantial reply to a peer or to your instructor, and your posts should add up to at least 400 words.
Your instructor may include additional requirements, so be sure to pay attention to the prompt.
The ethical reasoning to consider applying in this symposium is the categorical imperative. Consider how you may use it and adapt its implications to assessing the issue at hand. The topic for discussion is the ethical responsibility of energy production and consumption.
Consider how you might apply the reasoning of the Categorical Imperative, in its full implications, to the issues of choosing our electricity providers and methods. Non-renewable vs. renewable, polluting vs. clean energy. Coal, oil, nuclear, etc. vs. options like hydro, solar and wind power, etc.
How do we produce energy, and what are the stakes of our decisions? What do we stand for in our choices? What values are we committing ourselves to, as a principle, by choosing or not choosing one option or another.
Consider the following sources in addition to the ethical philosophy from Kant to make your analysis:
In addition to other options, many areas, like Pennsylvania, allow consumers to choose their sources for energy production now, between wind farmed energy and coal burning plants:
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