Introduction to Ethics (PHIL 160/002)

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Instructor: Stan Husi. This course meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in Caldwell 103.

In this introductory course to Ethics, we are going to systematically investigate the nature of ethics, what exactly it demands and values and why, what status of being it enjoys (or does not enjoy), whether and how we could come to acquire ethical knowledge, whether and why we should care about being ethical, what relation ethics bears to religion, and its connection to moral responsibility. We are discussing the major ethical traditions such as consequentialism, the view that the one and only criterion for the moral assessment of actions is the quality of their consequences; deontology, the view that some actions, such as the keeping or breaking of promises, may be right or wrong irrespective of their consequences; contractarianism, the view that moral rules are based on actual or hypothetical agreements regulating basic social arrangements; and virtue ethics, the view that character is key for understanding ethics. The course will be rounded off by looking at some hot issues applications of ethical theory. The readings are mostly by contemporary authors and are all drawn from Shafer-Landau’s excellent anthology “Ethical Theory.”

Stan Husi’s webpage