PHIL 351: Sexual Ethics (3 units)

Course Description

This course covers a range of moral issues surrounding sex and sexuality through the lens of contemporary analytic philosophy. Topics include but are not limited to: gender identity, gender equality, discrimination, sexual exploitation, consent, prostitution, and pornography. PHILSPHY 261: Introduction to Ethics is recommended but not required.


General Education Information

This course qualifies as a General Education- General Humanities (GH) elective course. Courses in this area examine the diversity of human experience and expression from historical, philosophical, religious, literary, and/or linguistic perspectives. These courses usually focus on the traditions, beliefs, texts, and artifacts that make up a culture, and place emphasis on critical analysis and interpretation of primary sources. Students will enhance their critical and creative thinking and communication skills, and grapple with complexity and diverse perspectives.

The General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs) in bold below are covered by this course:

  1. Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Natural World - Covered in this course with readings and films. Successful acquisition assessed via quizzes.

  2. Critical and Creative Thinking - Covered in this course through discussions. Successful acquisition assessed via final essay.

  3. Communication Skills - Covered in this course through discussions. Successful acquisition assessed via discussions and final essay presentation.

  4. Information Literacy

  5. Quantitative Reasoning

  6. Personal and Civic Responsibility - Covered in this course through discussions. Successful acquisition assessed via discussions and final essay.

  7. Foundations for Life-Long Learning

-adopted by UWW in Spring 2016


Philosophy Program Student Learning Outcomes (PHIL SLOs)

Philosophy Minor Subject Matter Objectives: This course will provide students with a deeper understanding of applied ethics, social philosophy, and feminist philosophy, fulfilling SM1.
This course touches on some of the major figures in this history of philosophy, most notably Immanuel Kant, fulfilling SM2.

Cognitive Development Objectives: Students will be critically appraising philosophical arguments and theories orally during class discussion and in their written work, fulfilling CD1. One way they will develop this skill is through 10 short assignments in which they are asked to evaluate arguments from the week's readings. They will study six different ethical theories over the course of this class (natural law theory, Kantianism, utilitarianism, contractarianism, virtue theory, and ethics of care), fulfilling CD2. Students will be asked to arrive at their own informed views on the philosophical issues covered in this class, fulfilling CD3.

Skill Objectives: Students will strengthen their ability to analyze philosophical texts by working through such texts, on their own and with the assistance of the instructor and their classmates, throughout the semester, fulfilling SK3. Students will apply basic methods and techniques of reasoning and argumentation to the articles and concepts covered in this class. They will do this by developing their own philosophical arguments in response to the course readings and class discussion, both orally and in writing. The culmination of this will be a multi-step term paper. This fulfills SK1, SK2, and SK3.

-adopted by Philosophy & Religious Studies Department in Fall 2015


Course Specific Student Learning Outcomes (Course SLOs)

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1) To obtain an understanding of the philosophical sub-discipline of sexual ethics
2) To develop an ability to read and comprehend relevant academic literature
3) To gain familiarity with terms and concepts within the field of sexual ethics, and to use them appropriately in both oral and written form
4) To understand some of the major ethical debates in the field of contemporary sexual ethics
5) To be able to explain and defend, orally and in written form, one’s own reasoned moral beliefs regarding sexual attitudes and behaviors
6) To cultivate an understanding and tolerance of divergent beliefs regarding sexual attitudes and behaviors and to be able to discuss those differences civilly

-adopted in Spring 2018


Required Texts

  1. Halwani, Raja; Soble, Alan; Hoffman, Sarah; Held, Jacob M. The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings. 7th edition. ISBN#: 9781442261433

  2. All other required texts will be available through Canvas.


Important Information


Course Assignments

Course grades are calculated based off a total of 1630 possible points, and grades are not weighted beyond their point values.

Course Schedule

To view the course schedule, you will need to sign out of Google with any personal accounts you may have & sign back in to Google with your UWW username and password.

*Please note that changes to the syllabus may occur during the semester, but such changes will be announced in class, through Canvas, and/or via email.

Updated 9/4/2018