Sample Syllabus PHI140

Sample Syllabus

The Sample Syllabus is not term-specific but contains much of the same information transferred from term to term. If you would like the current term syllabus, simply message me.

PHI140: Ethics of War and Peace

Professor Kelly Perez


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Note: This course assumes no prior knowledge of ethics or war studies, making it suitable for students from various academic backgrounds interested in exploring the ethical dimensions of war and conflict.


PHI140: Ethics of War and Peace introduces students to both practical and theoretical issues on war and peace. 

It urges reflection on questions like when, if ever, is violence justified? Who is my enemy? We also reflect on practical issues surrounding the unique camaraderie that often develops in war.


Students will have eight weeks of discussion broken up into three sections: 


For added fun:


We will have three source materials, each bought through your local campus bookstore or easily sourced online through alternative resources.


Topics Include (but are not limited to): 

Course Catalog Description: 

Ethical reasoning and applying ethical theories to moral issues connected to war and peace.

Professor Course Description:

The Ethics of War and Conflict course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the major ethical views of war, exploring concepts such as just war theory, pacifism, and total war theory. 

Students will delve into the crucial components of various ethical theories, including utilitarianism, deontology, and stoicism. Through thoughtful written and verbal analysis, students will learn to apply these theories to various war-related cases and issues, critically examining their ethical implications.

The course goes beyond theoretical exploration by engaging with the firsthand experiences of military writers. Students will compare and contrast material from combat experiences, considering character, situation, and narrative nuances. This analysis will enable students to understand better the moral complexities and dilemmas individuals face amid war.

In addition, students will be offered two optional Saturday Night Video Chat Sessions hosted by Retired and Active Duty Soldiers who will discuss their experience during military service. 

During longer 12-week terms (unlike shorter 8-week terms), students will have the opportunity to develop their presentation and facilitation skills. They will lead a presentation on ethical issues arising in the context of war and peace, guiding a constructive dialogue on topics such as individual and collective responsibility within the chain of command, guilt and war, views of death and the meaning of life, the virtues expected of soldiers, perceptions of the enemy, treatment of prisoners, war crimes and genocide, and the interrogation and psychological aspects of warfare.

Students will be encouraged to think critically, analyze complex ethical problems, and articulate their thoughts effectively throughout the course. By the end of the course, students will have developed a strong foundation in ethical theories related to war and conflict, and they will be equipped with the skills necessary to engage in thoughtful, ethical analysis and discussion.