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Instructor: Douglas MacLean. This course meets R 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. in GM 0035, with a recitation on Mondays.

*This section is EXCLUSIVELY for first-year Robertson Scholars. The lecture co-convenes at Duke.


This course is an introduction to the nature of ethical reasoning and argument. It addresses questions like the following: Do ethical claims appeal to objective standards? What are the arguments for or against ethical relativism, egoism, and the role of religion in morality? What is the relationship between morality and law? We will also apply ethical reasoning and argument to a range of practical issues, including: What are our moral duties to animals and to the environment? When is it permissible to kill a human being? What is the meaning of equality, and what are the demands of justice to help the poor? Finally, we will consider briefly the nature of ethical virtues and the relationship ethical values to other values.


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