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Contents

Preface The Pilot Episode: Ethics and Popular Culture What is Ethics? How Do We Make Progress in Ethics ? What Does Pop Culture Have to Do with Ethics?

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Series I. Is Anything "Good" on Television? The Nature of Moral Value


Episode 1: Truth and Nihilism in Ethics Introduction The case for nihilism J. L. Mackie, The Argument from Queerness, from Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong The case for realism C. S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity Case study: The Ofce (UK), Work Experience, series 1 Study questions Alternative case studies Episode 2: Normativity Social, Legal, and Moral Introduction You promised to play by the rules! John Rawls, Legal Obligation and the Duty of Fair Play What does my neighbor have to do with my goodness? John Stuart Mill, Of the Limits to the Authority of Society over the Individual from On Liberty Case study: The Sopranos, College, season 1 Study questions Alternative case studies
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vi Contents Episode 3: God and Ethics Introduction What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? Plato, Euthyphro Does God make the law or does he just let us in on it? C. S. Lewis, from The Problem of Pain Case study: Law & Order, God Bless the Child, season 2 Study questions Alternative case studies
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Series II. What's Right and Wrong? Ethical Theory


Episode 4: Moral Relativism Introduction Are we merely products of our culture? Ruth Benedict, A Defense of Ethical Relativism Relativism is unjustied James Rachels, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism Case study 1: Deadwood, Childish Things, season 2 Case study 2: South Park, Death Camp of Tolerance, season 6 Study questions Alternative case studies Episode 5: Deontology Introduction Kants theory of moral duty Immanuel Kant, from Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals Case study 1: Arrested Development, Not without My Daughter, season 1 Contemporary Deontology Case study 2: Friends, The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS, season 5 Study questions Alternative case studies Episode 6: Consequentialism Introduction Mills theory of utility John Stuart Mill, from Utilitarianism
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Case study 1: Battlestar Galactica, You Cant Go Home Again, season 1 Case study 2: The Twilight Zone (Newer), Cradle of Darkness, season 1 Study questions Alternative case studies

127 129 131 132 133 133 134 134 143 147 151 152

Episode 7: Virtue Ethics Introduction Aristotles theory of virtue Aristotle, from Nicomachean Ethics Case study 1: Foyles War, Enemy Fire, set 3 Case study 2: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Hide and Q, season 1 Study questions Alternative case studies

Series III. But What's Right When . . . ? Practical Ethics


Episode 8: Environmental Ethics Introduction Two Approaches to Environmental Ethics Silly environmentalists, nature is for people William Baxter, People or Penguins Case study 1: Northern Exposure, Zarya, season 6 Case study 2: Family Guy, It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One, season 5 Study questions Alternative case studies Episode 9: Animal Welfare Introduction Two Dead Ends Three Approaches to Animal Welfare Animals are morally valuable, but not as valuable as adult humans Mary Anne Warren, Difculties with the Strong Rights Position Case study 1: Bones, Finger in the Nest, season 4 Case study 2: House, M.D., Babies and Bathwater, season 1 Study questions Alternative case studies
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viii Contents Episode 10: Abortion Introduction One Common Assumption Six Fallacies to Avoid Judith Jarvis Thomson and the Violinist Argument Mary Anne Warren and the Space Explorer Abortion is wrong for the same reason that killing adults is wrong Don Marquis, Why Abortion is Immoral Case study 1: Law & Order, Dignity, season 20 Case study 2: Maude, Maudes Dilemma Parts 1 and 2, season 1 Study questions Alternative case studies Episode 11: Homosexuality Introduction Arguments Against the Permissibility of Homosexuality Arguments for the Permissibility of Homosexuality Additional Concerns New natural law theory and the morality of homosexuality Stephen Macedo, Homosexuality and the Conservative Mind; Robert George and Bradley Gerard, Marriage and the Liberal Imagination Case study 1: Law & Order, Manhood, season 3 Case study 2: Family Guy, You May Now Kiss the . . . Uh . . . Guy Who Receives, season 4 Study questions Alternative case studies Episode 12: Punishment and Capital Punishment Introduction Theories of Punishment Arguments For and Against Capital Punishment Capital punishment is unjustied Jeffrey Reiman, The Justice of the Death Penalty in an Unjust World Case study 1: Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Hunted, season 3 Case study 2: Oz, Capital P, season 1 Study questions Alternative case studies
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220 225 227 230 231 232 232 234 241 244 244 246 249 252 253

Contents ix Episode 13: Assisted Suicide Introduction A Few Terms Three Moral Arguments Against the Permissibility of Assisted Suicide Moral and Practical Arguments for the Permissibility of Assisted Suicide The good of society depends on assisted suicide Daniel Callahan, Aging and the Ends of Medicine Case study 1: Picket Fences, Abominable Snowman, season 2 Case study 2: Scrubs, My Jiggly Ball, season 5 Study questions Alternative case studies The Epilogue: Does TV Erode Our Values? The Moral Inuence of Television The Debate Over Censorship A Kantian Reason not to Censor Case study 1: Family Guy, PTV, season 4 Utilitarian Reasons not to Censor Moral Reasons to Censor Exploitation, Objectication, and TV Case study 2: Toddlers & Tiaras (any episode) Reality TV and Psychological Harm Thats All Folks! Study questions References Index
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