PHIL 160.001 – Virtue, Value, and Happiness: An Introduction to Moral Theory

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Instructor: Michaela Tiller. This course meets MTWRF 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. in CW 208.

What is right to do? How do we know what is right? Does something being right mean that we ought to do it? This course is designed as an introduction to ethical theory, wherein students will consider some significant theories of moral value and develop the capacity to weigh these proposals. We will cover a range of theories, most particularly virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism, paying particular attention to how these philosophical theories might guide our actions when put into practice. The course will begin with reading texts from philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, Hobbes, Hume, Bentham, Kant and Mill. The latter portion of the class will be discussion of applied ethics on topics of the class’s choosing in terms of the theories learned in the first part. Possible topics include abortion, animal rights, charity, civil disobedience, the environment, friendship and immigration.