PHIL 160.002 – Introduction to Ethics

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Instructor: Lindsay Brainard. This course meets MWF 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. in CW 105.

How should you live your life? What are your responsibilities to others? What makes an action or a principle morally right? Is happiness all there is to a life well-lived? Are there universal moral truths?These are a few of the questions we will consider in this course. In our effort to tackle these questions, we will read and discuss classical texts in moral theory from Plato, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, and Immanuel Kant, among others. At various junctures, we will compare the answers these thinkers give to the treatment these questions have received by later historical figures and contemporary philosophers, such as Susan Wolf, Peter Singer, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Russ Shafer-Landau, and Derek Parfit.

Classes will proceed primarily by lecture, though there will be a significant discussion component for this course. This course will serve as a good introduction to philosophical thought for students who have not yet taken any other philosophy courses, and it will also be appropriate for students who have already studied some philosophy and are interested in learning more about moral theory.