Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Philosophy 398. Experimental Courses


This course will approach "exploitation" from a philosophical perspective. We will ask "What is exploitation?" and will consider the moral weight of exploitation claims. Among other things we will read Alan Wertheimer's seminal book Exploitation. Following Wetheimer we will consider specific contexts/cases including the alleged exploitation of student athletes, surrogate mothers, and clients of psychotherapy.


Epistemic Injustice

This is a course in social epistemology that begins with the assumption that our epistemic practices occur among socially situated knowers. Accordingly, the practices can be better or worse as the social conditions are better or worse. In this way, the course falls under the broad domains of epistemology, ethics, and social and political philosophy. And within these domains, the course will speak to and be informed by such subfields as feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, virtue ethics, action theory, philosophy of law, philosophy of emotion, moral psychology, and more.


Life, Death and Meaning

In this course we examine whether there is a meaning of life or a plurality of meanings and the relationship among them; what kind of meaning it is and whether it is simply a matter of feeling that one’s life is meaningful or whether there an objective sense according to which a life can be meaningful no matter how it feels to the person living it; and, if life has some kind of meaning, what can be said about the prospect of living meaningfully and whether it is it possible to live the life that matters most to you.

We will also examine a set of questions that traditionally stand together under the same umbrella: are persons benefited, or harmed, by being brought into existence; does death matter to the person who dies, and if so, are some deaths worse than others; is it ever reasonable to commit suicide, and is it ever morally permissible to do so; are we immortal and, if not, would it be desirable to be so; and finally, given our answers to these questions, is pessimism or optimism an appropriate attitude to the human condition?