PHIL 160.002 – Introduction to Ethics

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Instructor: David Faraci. This course meets TR 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in CW 103.

One of the most important questions we can ask is how we should live our lives. This course introduces students to ethics as a philosophical search for answers to this question. Our primary text, Shelly Kagan’s Normative Ethics, provides an overview of the most popular answers that have been given to this question, while at the same time presenting students with a broader view of how those answers relate to one another and what other answers might be possible. Towards the end of the semester, we turn our attention to metaethics—to questions about the nature of ethical truth: What kinds of truths are ethical truths? How could we come to know about them? Our discussion of these questions is framed by Russ Shafer-Landau’s Whatever Happened to Good and Evil?, in which he argues against the popular view that good and evil are, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.