Fall 2008 Course Descriptions

School of Public Policy
Georgia Tech
Fall 2008 Course List and Descriptions

Be sure to sign up for the correct section number (as listed on OSCAR) for courses with multiple sections!


POL 1101RB Government of the US
TTh 9:30-11
Richard Barke
Citizens and professionals should be able to interpret American government, politics, and policy critically, systematically, and accurately. General concepts and theories will be introduced during this course; details and specific facts will be used to support explanations of why the American political system operates as it does. Your goal is to become an informed skeptic, capable of making a cogent argument to support a position. You should focus on learning how the pieces of government (the “facts”) relate to each other and the nation’s fundamental design principles (“how” and “why”), and why simple policy statements or ideological positions are often misleading. Students will participate in several exercises in class, most notably a mock Congress, in which they will research, draft, debate, and vote on legislation. Fall 2008 should be an interesting semester for studying American government.

POL 1101GK Government of the US
MWF 11-12
Gordon Kingsley
Students in this course will develop and refine their abilities to understand and discuss American policies and politics. Students will examine the structure and operation of the U.S. political system to help explain a range of current issues facing the country including identify theft, education policy, climate change, and illegal immigration. The course will include a mix of lecture, discussion, and small group activities.

PST 1101 Introduction to Philosophical Analysis
TTh 12-1:30
Michael Hoffmann

PST 1101 Introduction to Philosophical Analysis

Jeremy Farris

Philosophy is thinking in slow motion. It unpacks, describes, and assesses moves that we ordinarily make at great speed in our beliefs and use of concepts. This class is an introduction to an array of philosophical questions – those that are unlikely to be resolved by any amount of observation or formal proof, yet which we cannot but examine. Philosophical analysis attempts to respond intelligently to those kinds of questions. The class will survey questions in ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, and the philosophy of science.

PUBP 2012 Foundations of Public Policy
MW 3-4:30
Cheryl Leggon
This course explores policy as both a product and a process. Among the issues addressed are the policy cycle, evaluation, and ethical issues and the role of public opinion in public policy. Policy principles and processes will be examined in the context of specific issues such as health care, education,employment, social security, energy and the environment.

PST 2050 Philosophy and Political Theory
T Th 9:30-11
Robert Kirkman
Political philosophy examines fundamental questions about how people live together in communities and make decisions together, including questions of legitimacy and sovereignty. How we answer these questions has a direct bearing on how we approach substantive issues in public policy. Students will become familiar with classic texts in political philosophy, with a particular emphasis on democratic theory, and use that understanding to critically assess arguments in contemporary policy debates concerning legitimacy and sovereignty. Work in the classroom will focus on environmental policy; students will complete a research project, culminating in a substantial argumentative essay, on a policy area of their choice.

PUBP 2651 Public Policy Internship
See Cheryl Leggon
For first and second year students, can be taken once for 1-3 hours credit, for either a letter grade or pass/fail. (Open only to public policy majors.)

PUBP 3000 US Constitutional Issues
T Th 1:30-3
Roberta Berry
Note: Phase I registration for this Honors Program offering of PUBP 3000 is limited to Honors Program students by permit only. Beginning with Phase II registration, all restrictions on registration will be removed and any student may register for the course until the cap is reached.
This course focuses on court decisions interpreting the U.S. Constitution. Students assume the role of attorneys arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and of justices of the U.S. Supreme Court questioning these attorneys. Students are expected to develop knowledge of selected provisions of the U.S. Constitution and cases interpreting it, skill in constitutional analysis and argumentation, and an appreciation of foundational questions about the framework of government for a democratic republic.

PST 3010 Organizations and Policy Implementation
T Th 4:30-6
Mary Frank Fox
Focuses upon issues -and policy implications- of  major perspectives on organizations; life “inside organizations” (culture and control, power, inequalities, conflict, deviance); organizations and their environments; and  adaptations, transformations, and the future of organizations.

PUBP 3016 Judicial Process
T 4:30-7:30
Jonathan Letzring
The functions, structures, and procedures of state and federal court systems, including selection and appointment of judges, judicial activism, influences on court decisions, and enforcement of court decisions.

PST 3109 Ethics and Technical Professions
T Th 8-9:30
Jan Schmidt
Ethical reasoning in the context of professional work in science and technology. Prepares future technical professionals to approach decisions with a coherent ethical framework.

PST 3109 Ethics and Technical Professions
T Th 12-1:30
Jason Borenstein
In this course, we will examine the ethical, legal, and social implications of being a professional in a technical field. A primary approach used in the course will be to analyze engineering and ethics case studies. Key viewpoints on a variety of subjects, including obligations to the environment, conflicts of interest, and risk assessment, will be presented and evaluated.

PST 3115 Philosophy of Science
T Th 1:30-3
Michael Hoffman

Philosophy of Science explores the possibilities, conditions, constraints, and limitations of scientific knowledge. As a skeptical endeavor it provides arguments to criticize all forms of dogmatism that are connected with the authoritative role of the sciences in modern societies, and as a philosophical discipline that reflects on the relation between knowledge and what this knowledge is about it provides theoretical means to discuss the role of observation, experiments, language, theories, models, and inferences in processes of knowledge generation.

PST 3127 Science, Technology, and Human Values
MWF 9-10
Hans Klein
PST 3127 approaches ethics through writings on the critique of consciousness and the realization of freedom. The class differs from most philosophy classes, which conceive of ethics in terms of a rational agent acting on the basis of higher principle, such as utility maximization (Mill) or universality (Kant). We consider human rationality to be incomplete but to be capable of development and improvement. We examine cognitive impediments to ethical action (“false consciousness”), various accounts of the origins of such impediments, methods for critique of consciousness, and visions of freedom. Readings will draw not only on philosophy but also on literature, the social sciences, and clinical psychology.

PST 3127 Science, Technology, and Human Values
T Th 9:30-11
Jason Borenstein

This course examines how science and technology have shaped the formation of our values and how our values have influenced scientific inquiry. The course begins the course by examining different views on the distinction between “science” and“non-science”. The intersection of science, technology, and politics is also discussed. Further, the impact that technological progress may have on the future of human life is analyzed.

PST 3127 Science, Technology, and Human Values
MWF 10-11
Aaron Levine
This version of PST 3127 focuses on using ethical theories to inform scientific and technological decision-making. A key premise of the course is that while scientific and technological concerns often drive these decisions, rarely will they tell the whole story. Thus, in this course we will explore how a range of other factors, ranging from large-scale financial or political forces to the preferences or biases of a single individual, influence scientific and technological development. We will consider how, if at all, these social factors influence our ethical reasoning in the context of controversial scientific issues with the aim of better understanding how scientific and technological decisions are – or should be – made.

PUBP 3610 Pre-Law Seminar
M 4-7
Robert Pikowsky

The Pre-Law Seminar is designed for students who are seriously considering law school. The class is divided into three segments. The first segment will introduce students to the basics of legal writing, which is fundamental to success in law school and in law practice. The second segment will introduce students to some of the career paths available to an attorney. The third segment will introduce students to some of the oral advocacy skills that are essential to a career in litigation.

PST 4110 Theories of Knowledge
T Th 12-1:30
Bryan Norton
Following a brief exploration of Modernist theories of knowledge, we will concentrate on a specific historical context: North America between 1870 and 1980. This period is particularly interesting because it encompasses an ongoing competition and accommodation between two important schools of thought in philosophy, American pragmatism and logical positivism; their interactions have set the stage for contemporary movements and challenges. We will set the historical context—and trace the development of pragmatism—by reading Louis Menand’s book, The Metaphysical Club, which describes pragmatism from its beginnings to early maturity. Menand shows how disillusionment following the Civil War led to a new, and distinctly American, philosophy—pragmatism—and how pragmatism contributed to progressivism and to reform movements prior to the beginning of World War I.

PUBP 4113 Statistical Analysis for Public Policy
MWF 10-11
Introduction to probability, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and analysis, and microcomputer spreadsheets. Emphasizes application of basic statistical concepts to typical public policy and administration problems.

PST 4176 Environmental Ethics
T Th 3-4:30
Bryan Norton
This course might more accurately be called, “Environmental Philosophy,” but tradition and convention has come to refer to our activity more specifically as “ethics.” We will address four questions:
• Q1: What values support efforts to protect the environment?
• Q2A: What constitutes good reasons for actions and policies to protect the environment?
[Question 2 could also be stated: Q2B: How can we make good decisions with respect to the environment?]
Question 2 requires input from our answers to question Q1, but it also requires us to ask:
• Q3: What role should science play in choosing and justifying rational environmental policies?
Q1-Q3, taken together, then suggest that we should also ask:
• Q4:What is the relationship/role of science and value analysis in guiding environmental action?
In this class, we will address practical, policy problems affecting the environment from the theoretical perspective of environmental ethics, environmental philosophy, and the study of environmental values.

PUBP 4214 Gender, Science, Technology and Public Policy
T Th 1:30-3
Mary Frank Fox
Focuses upon issues – and policy implications- of patterns of participation of women and men in science/technology; factors accounting for the patterns; work-family connections; gendered meanings of science/technology; and transformations in and futures of gender, science, and technology.

PUBP 4410 Science, Technology, and Public Policy
T Th 1:30-3
John Walsh and Diana Hicks
Ensuring that science and technology continue to provide solutions to economic, health and environmental challenges while minimizing potential risks requires governments in wealthy countries to maintain a vital R&D enterprise, to facilitate the translation of research into commercial realities, and to incorporate public views into decisions around innovation and regulation. Government’s main concern with regard to science and technology used to be ensuring the research enterprise was sustainable, especially basic science. Today other goals prevail: science systems are asked to respond better to a more diverse set of stakeholders and must adapt to changes in the processes of knowledge creation and transfer. Research has moved from scientific disciplines to multidisciplinary, multi-institutional networks and the boundary between curiosity-driven and problem oriented research has become blurred. This course will examine this set of challenges, look at how the classical post-WWII contract between science and society is becoming ever more complex, and explore some of the tensions that result. The course will examine these issues from the perspective of the world’s affluent nations, incorporating material from North America, Western Europe, Japan, and Australia, as appropriate.

PUBP 4530 Geographic Information Systems
MWF 11-12

PUBP 4651 Public Policy Internship
See Cheryl Leggon
For students in at least their third year, can be taken more than once for 1-6 hours of credit, either letter grade or pass/fail. (Open only to public policy majors.)

PUBP 4652 OLA Legal Internship
See Robert Pikowsky
Supervised professional internship with the Georgia Tech Office of Legal Affairs.

PST/PUBP 4803: Rawls and Distributive Justice

Jeremy Farris
John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice is the most important work in moral and political philosophy in the last century. It showed that philosophy can do more than ruminate on its own self-invented questions – that it can respond thoroughly and creatively to concerns that weigh on every adult citizen: How should we conceive of justice in a democratic society? What do we owe to our fellow citizens? This class will critically survey A Theory of Justice and related literature in order to provide a sound introduction to contemporary political philosophy.

PUBP 4803RB Special Topic: Biotechnology Law, Policy, and Ethics
T Th 3-4:30
Roberta Berry
This course examines the legal, policy, and ethical issues associated with biotechnologies in selected topic areas, which may include genetically modified foods, nanotechnology, xenotransplantation, artificial organs, patenting of genes/patenting of life, stem cell research, gene therapy, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, sex-selection reproductive technologies, germline genetic engineering of human beings, human reproductive cloning, and end-of-life technologies. The course will include multi-disciplinary readings and an interactive format requiring preparation and presentation of short reaction papers to assigned readings and a position paper on a selected issue in biotechnology law, policy, and ethics.

PUBP 4803LK Special Topic: Internet Law
T Th 12-1:30
Robert Pikowsky, Lawrence Keller

This class will cover selected issues in Internet Law, such as: copyright, including music/video file sharing; internet privacy; freedom of speech, including defamation and obscenity on the Internet; Internet patents and trade secrets; information security; Internet regulation; and cybercrimes.

PUBP 4803 Special Topic: Media, Public, Opinion, and the 2008 Election.
F 1-4
Susan Herbst
This seminar course explores the dynamics of American politics as they relate to the 2008 election, an election that promises to be a fascinating moment in the nation’s history. Elections with no incumbent are excellent windows for understanding the current parties, the voting process, and how Americans see their own role in political and social change. The course will begin with a review of basic approaches to understanding the media and public opinion in the contemporary United States. We will discuss a variety of conventional and also more controversial research programs, in order to evaluate the nature of the news media (print, broadcast, internet) and the dynamics of public opinion and polling. The 2008 election is our context, and so much of the course will center on understanding the campaign and its aftermath. In addition to class participation (25% of grade) and a midterm examination (25%), all students will complete a paper based on a field work project of their choice. Students may choose to volunteer for one of the candidates’ organizations in Atlanta, study a group of voters, or evaluate some aspect of the media, as an empirical basis for their project. This project will account for 50% of students’ course grades; there will be no final exam for this course.

PUBP 4803 Special Topic: Formal Models
T Th 6-7:30
Doug Noonan
Students will hone their skills at formally modeling common policy problems. What makes a model “formal” is merely its explicit nature, not whether or not it is mathematical or quantitative. Students will be exposed to a wide range of basic models from different disciplines, and they will be encouraged to develop their own formal models and apply them to policy contexts of interest to them. Their major assignment will be developing their own formal model on a policy problem of their choosing. Introductory material will include the basics of decision theory, game theory, and some especially prevalent formal models of policy problems. No prerequisites.

PUBP 4803 Special Topic: Technology Law, Policy and Management
T 6-9
Jerry Liu and Charlena Thorpe
This course covers a variety of legal, policy, and management issues relevant to technology. The course includes an in-depth review of patent law and surveys other areas of law such as trade secret, trademark, copyright, contract, product liability, and antitrust law to the extent that they impact the research, design, marketing, and selling of technology.


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