Introduction to Ethics|
Spring 2007 not offered
|Certificates: Environmental Studies|
Morality is all around us. Every day we make moral judgments about the character and actions of other people, and every day we make decisions about what we "ought" to do in a variety of situations. Moreover, at various points in our lives almost all of us have been confronted with some sort of "moral dilemma." But how do we make moral judgments, and how do we determine what the "right" course of action is? Are there any objective moral principles and standards? If so, what are they, and how (if at all) can they be justified? To ask these questions is to take a philosophical approach to morality. Ethics (or moral philosophy) is the systematic attempt to analyze moral concepts and to justify moral principles and theories. This course provides an introduction to moral philosophy. During the semester we will examine several of the most important and influential ethical theories of the Western tradition. The core of the course consists of an examination of virtue ethics, utilitarianism, and deontology--the "big three" ethical theories of the Western tradition. In addition, we will consider Nietzsche's critique of traditional morality. Finally, we will briefly examine divine command theory, egoism, and (time permitting) relativism and subjectivism. Our study of these theories will be centered on primary texts from the history of philosophy.
Ethical Reasoning, Writing
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture/Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CEC)(CES)(CSCT)(ENVS)(PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)(SISP-Phil Ethic)(SISP-Phil Mind)
Plato, FIVE DIALOGUES (translated by Grube, Hackett 1981)
Aristotle, NICOMACHEAN ETHICS (Oxford edition)
Kant, GROUNDING OF THE METAPHYSICS OF MORALS (translated by Ellington, Hackett 1981 or later)
Mill, UTILITARIANISM (Hackett 1979 or later)
Guignon, ed. THE GOOD LIFE (anthology from Hackett, 1999)
additional readings will be made available on reserve and via photocopy.
|Examination and Assignments: |
Weekly reading responses, two major essays, final exam.