PHIL 160.001 – Introduction to Ethics

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Instructor: Larisa Svirsky. This course meets TR 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in CW 105.

In this course, we will examine historical and contemporary approaches to ethical questions, or in other words, questions about what we ought to do and what it takes to live a good life. This course will provide an introduction to three major ethical theories (utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics), and their respective strategies for trying to answer these questions. We will also consider applications of these theories to contemporary moral issues, including global wealth disparities, animal rights, and abortion. Time permitting, the course will end with a discussion of moral responsibility and related attitudes such as praise and blame, with a focus on whether these attitudes are ever justified given what we know about the ethical dimensions of our lives.