PHIL 160.001 – Introduction to Ethics

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Instructor: Kyle Driggers. This course meets MWF 8:00 – 8:50 a.m. in CW 105.

The goal of this course is to introduce students to philosophical approaches to moral reasoning. It is intended for students that are unfamiliar with but interested in what influential philosophers have to say about the nature of moral value, moral reasoning, and the moral life.

The plan for the course is as follows. First, we will consider whether approaching ethics from a philosophical perspective is worthwhile by considering whether morality is only given by divine mandate or obviously relative to one’s culture. Then, we will consider four major moral theories: Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Virtue Ethics, and Care Ethics. On alternate weeks, we will read articles from contemporary moral philosophers that illustrate and display the usefulness of these theories. These articles will concern topics such as animal welfare, abortion, the duty to respect one’s self, and global poverty. The readings for the final four weeks of the class will be determined by students.

The course grade is determined by two papers, weekly reading responses on Sakai, and two exams. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions for the course.