Practical Ethics (PHIL 163.001)

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Instructor: Alexander Jech. This class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in Dey 209.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to philosophical modes of reflection upon the nature of “work.” The philosophical core of the course will be provided by the divergent perspectives of Aristotle, Adam Smith, and Marx, but the majority of the course will focus upon investigating the ethical dimensions of several different kinds of work, or vocations, such as agriculture and land management; artisanship and working with one’s hands generally; business and entrepreneurship; and politics and civil service. This examination will have two purposes: to obtain a better understanding regarding what the vocation requires of those working within it (is the purpose of entrepreneurial activity profit, or the expression of freedom and creativity? is the purpose of manual work located solely in the product, or are there values internal to the practice?) and to better understand how the vocation should be fit within the broader moral, social, and political fabric of society (can the benefits of modern factory farming justify its inhumane conditions? do current policies incentivizing higher education denigrate the value of manual labor and lead to a shortage of skilled labor? how should we balance expediency and justice in the practice of politics?).

Alexander Jech’s webpage