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PUBLPOL 103F. Ethics of Truth in a Post-Truth World. 2-3 Units.

This course will explore changing notions of truth in a world in which technology, global risks, and societal developments are blurring the boundaries of humanity and boring through traditional notions of nation states, institutions, and human identity. We will ask one over-arching question: does truth matter anymore? If so, why and how? If not, why not? Either way, how does truth relate to ethical decision-making by individuals and institutions and to an ethical society? Five themes will organize our exploration of more specific topics: honesty; identity; memory; authenticity and integrity; and religious truth. Examples of topics to be explored include, among others: fake news; President Trump's campaign strategy; Syrian refugees; University history (Rhodes, Georgetown slavery, Yale Calhoun College...); new questions in gender and racial identity; Chinese beautifying app Meitu and other social media "truth modifiers"; policy questions relating to the sharing economy; and Brexit. Scotty McClennan will explore truth through major literary characters and the impact of religion on truth. We will consider how we determine and verify the truth; how we "do" truth; the role of truth in ethical decision-making; the importance of truth to effective ethical policy; and the relationship of the truth to a life well lived. This two-credit seminar may be taken as a stand-alone course or may accompany PUBLPOL 134 Ethics on the Edge. Students taking this course for Ways credit must enroll in 3 units. Enrollment limited to 15 or upon consent of instructor. Students wishing to take the course who are unable to sign up within the enrollment limit should contact Dr. Susan Liautaud at susanl1@stanford.edu. *Public Policy majors taking the course to complete the core requirements must obtain a letter grade. Other students may take the course for a letter grade or C/NC.
Same as: PUBLPOL 203F