PHIL 163H.001 – Honors Practical Ethics

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Instructor: Thomas E. Hill, Jr. This course meets TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. in CW 213.

In this course we will discuss some underexplored ethical issues that are practically important and raise significant philosophical questions. We will focus on ideals of respect, love, and appreciation and their implications especially for ethical issues that arise in interpersonal relations, for example, friendship, blame and forgiveness, responding to oppression, confronting disabilities, and assisted suicide.  Readings and discussion will concern ideal attitudes towards oneself, for example, self-respect and autonomy, and towards nature, for example, appreciation and preserving natural environments.  The aim is to clarify our values, to understand different points of view, and to discuss respectfully our reasons for our views and possible objections to them.  In the first part of the course we will examine some classic essays about ideals and what is good to do beyond duty and then we will discuss some particular ideals of love, respect, and appreciation; and, finally, in the second part of the course we will discuss how these ideals may apply when we consider how to treat ourselves, others, and the natural environment. Readings will include several essays by the instructor. The topics discussed in Phil. 163H can vary from year to year, and this particular set of topics in the instructor’s last semester before retirement is unlikely to be to the focus of attention when the course is offered in later years. Participation and discussion in an Honors class of this sort is crucial. There will be several writing assignments, some group work, and an essay type final examination.