INS302 - Ethics for the 21st Century: Theory and Practice

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Last revision date Mar 16, 2020 8:48:44 AM
Last review date Mar 16, 2020 8:49:36 AM

Subject Title
Ethics for the 21st Century: Theory and Practice

Subject Description
This course examines some of the most influential ethical theories, emphasizing practical application in real world situations.  Starting with timeless issues affecting persons throughout history, the main focus will be on current ethical problems unimaginable to the founders of Western ethical thought, along with future scenarios at the boundaries of our own imaginations.  Students will explore how to make ethical choices in our complex, technologically mediated, and rapidly changing world.
The course integrates key foundational ethics theories with an ongoing focus on relevant and intriguing ethical issues from a variety of sources ranging from academic case studies to everyday life and news media examples, including student contributions.  Participants will gain an appreciation for the complexity of the issues studied, as well as the ability to look at these issues from a variety of ethical perspectives.  In a process of critical reflection, students will gain insight into others' ethical viewpoints as well as enrich their own.  While studying ethics requires us to look beyond just ourselves and to consider others, in doing so we can ultimately help ourselves better understand and respond to the ethical challenges in our futures.

Credit Status
Upper–level humanities elective course (300/400 level) for students in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program; also a Liberal Studies Option (LSO) for Seneca degree students.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  • Formulate thoughtful, well-reasoned responses to a variety of ethical issues
  • Identify and analyze the ethically relevant elements in a diverse range of case selections
  • Understand and effectively apply a repertoire of ethical theories and concepts to various ethics case scenarios
  • Understand the interplay between conflicting and complementary ethical views in examining a range of ethically significant situations
  • Develop an awareness of the personal, cultural, and social dimensions of ethical perspectives
  • Discuss the impact of 21st century technological innovations on both the kinds of ethical problems we might encounter and the challenges of dealing with these problems as ethical human beings
  • Analyze and explain the concepts and contexts of ethical theories studied in the course
  • Critically consider the strengths and weaknesses of selected traditional and contemporary ethical theories, as well as the ethical positions of oneself and others
  • Critically engage in and evaluate complex ethical arguments and standpoints as these are applied to a variety of ethics scenarios from past, present, and future

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.