PHIL 765.001 – Advanced Studies in Value Theory
Practical Virtue Ethics
Virtue ethics is often thought to be one of the major kinds of ethical theory, alongside consequentialist and deontological theories. In this course, we will take an in-depth look at contemporary virtue ethical theory and practical applications. We will also draw from Aristotle’s ethics and moral psychology and discuss both classical and contemporary theoretical questions such as: what are the virtues? How is action shaped by social context and is that compatible with a robust view of virtue? Does flourishing as a virtuous person have anything to do with happiness? Can a theory of virtues be action guiding? We will then turn to practical applications of virtue ethics in contemporary contexts and consider such topics as character development in education, virtue and medicine, environmental ethics, business ethics, and what virtue requires in our treatment of non-human animals. Undergraduate students enrolling in this course should have at least some background familiarity with ethics and moral theory.