croppedreadingThe nature and extent of human right are central to philosophy. What are rights? Do rights entail corresponding duties? Are rights absolute, or is it sometimes permissible to over-ride them in order to resolve conflicts with other rights or to produce far better consequences than could be achieved by preserving those rights? When is it permissible for a third party to intervene in order to prevent another’s rights from being violated? Is there a basic catalogue of human rights, and if so, how do we identify and justify it? When we speak of human rights, must we include the rights of future generations of currently non-existent humans? What are our rights as citizens, and do our governments have a duty to ensure that they are satisfied? To what extent do other animals have the rights enjoyed by biological human beings or is one’s species an interesting but morally irrelevant feature? The list of such questions is extensive, and every question on it, has been and is being extensively debated by philosophers, including those here at the University of Manitoba.

For more information, including registration details, contact the Philosophy department.

Ethics and Society (PHIL 2290)

An examination of some contemporary ethical theories and their application to a number of practical issues. Current issues to be discussed may include: ethics and the environment; abortion and euthanasia; sexual freedom and human equality; civil disobedience; individual liberty vs. state authority; punishment; and justice and utility.

Ethics and Biomedicine (PHIL 2740)

An examination of some important ethical issues arising out of recent developments in biology and medicine. Examples of topics to be covered include: the allocation of scarce medical resources; genetic engineering; euthanasia vs. the prolongation of life; abortion and infanticide, and experimentation on human subjects.

Ethics and the Environment (PHIL 2750)

An examination of some important ethical issues connected with environmental pollution and resource depletion. Examples to be covered include: the ideal of liberty and environmental limits; scarcity and the ideal of justice; growth vs. steady-state economics; animal rights, and survival ethics vs. welfare ethics.

Contemporary Political Philosophy (PHIL 2800)

An examination of recent theories about whether there should be political authority, who should wield it, what is its proper scope and what are the duties and rights of citizens. The course will deal with representations of such positions as anarchism, communism, conservatism, liberalism.

Business Ethics (PHIL 2830)

The course will explore the application of ethical theory to business. Topics to be discussed will normally include: theories of justice, corporate responsibility, the ethics of advertising, consumer and environmental protection, and preferential hiring.

The Ethics of War and Peace (PHIL 2840)

A study of the ethical issues connected with war and the securing of peace, as articulated in the writings of major philosophers and selected political and military thinkers. Relevant moral theories, such as non-violence, holy war, the just war, the ethical reasoning underlying policies of deterrence, will be critically examined in historical and contemporary context.


Philosophy of Human Rights (PHIL 4610)