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Introduction to Ethics

PHIL 212
Spring 2020
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: ENVS 212
Certificates: Environmental Studies, Environmental Studies Minor, Civic Engagement, Civic Engagement Minor, Environmental Studies, Environmental Studies Minor, Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory
Course Cluster: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

This course will begin with some ancient questions about values. We find that two ancient approaches to right living (Platonic-Stoic and Aristotelian) differ radically over how much experience or society can teach us about what is good. Yet both insist that moral life is essentially connected to individual happiness.

Turning next to modern ideas of moral action (Kantian and utilitarian), we find that they both emphasize a potential gulf between individual happiness and moral rightness. Yet, like the ancients, they disagree over whether morality's basic insights derive from experience.

The last third of the course explores more recent preoccupations with ideas about moral difference, moral change, and the relation between morality and power. Especially since Marx and Nietzsche, moral theory faces a sustained challenge from social theorists who allege moral norms and judgments serve hidden ideological purposes. Some have sought to repair universal ethics by giving an account of progress or the overcoming of bias, while others have argued for plural or relative ethics. Ecological critics have challenged moral theorists to overcome their preoccupation with exclusively human interests and ideals. What kinds of moral reflection might be adequate to problems of global interdependence?

Students will come to understand the distinctive insights and arguments behind all of the positions considered, to recognize more and less cogent lines of response to them, and to shape their own patterns of moral reasoning through careful reflection.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CIVI-MN)(CSCT)(ENVS-MN)(ENVS)(HRAD-MN)(PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)(STS)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUL-25-2024
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