PHIL 160.951 – Introduction to Ethics

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Instructor: Tamara Fakhoury. This course meets MW 6:00 – 7:15 p.m. in CW 103.

What makes for a good life? What do we owe to ourselves and to others? Does ethics exclusively concern how we ought to conduct our relations with others, or are there moral duties that we owe to ourselves? What is self-respect? What makes an act morally right or wrong? What does it take to be a virtuous person? What does it take to be an autonomous person? How might social norms degrade a person’s autonomy? Do ethical principles have universal validity, or are they only valid relative to individual opinions or cultural norms? Why be moral in the first place? In this course, we will learn how historical and contemporary philosophers have approached ethical questions such as these. We will focus on understanding the major ethical theories, including Kantianism, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics. We will also consider applications of these theories to some contemporary moral issues, such as animal rights, abortion, war, privilege and oppression, and global wealth disparities. Many of the problems we will discuss may not seem to have definitive answers. However, we will learn how to tell a good answer from a bad one (i.e. an answer that follows from good reasons vs. one that does not). The main goal of this course is to improve our ability to reason about ethical matters and to clarify and critically examine our own opinions so that we may become more conscientious moral agents.

Please note, registration for this course is controlled by  Part-time Classroom Studies (PTCS)  until the late registration period begins. Please contact PTCS for registration questions or details.