Philosophy | Introduction to Ethics
P140 | 3486 | Kesler


In this introductory course, we will discuss ethical theories, ethical
practices, and the interrelationships between them.  We will read
classical authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Bentham, and Kant, whose
writings have informed the tradition of ethical thought.  We will also
read contemporary authors who have developed and responded to these
traditions and who have applied different types of ethical reasoning to
issues of current social policy.

We will ask questions such as the following:  (1) What does it mean to be
moral?  (2) Why should a person be moral?  (3) Are there objective moral
principles which make an action good or bad?  (4) Alternatively, are all
ethical judgments mere opinions, relative to our private wants or to the
practices of our culture?  (5) If there are objective moral principles,
are they rooted in a virtuous character, in reasoning about what is good
"in itself," or in calculating what will bring about the greatest amount
of happiness?  (6) Can literary narratives and analogies help us to see
ethical situations from different perspectives?  (7) How can these
reflections inform our thought and actions in concrete moral dilemmas that
we face in our own lives and in contemporary issues of social policiy,
such as abortion, world poverty, and other issues which students may
choose?

Students will have many opportunities to develop, articulate, and reflect
upon their own ethical thinking and sensibilities by applying their ideas
to concrete ethical dilemmas - through small group discussions, classroom
debates, personal interviews, and/or service learning projects in the
community.  Written assignments, quizzes, and tests will be frequent, but
quite managable in sccope and in length.

Required texts: Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life (4th ed) by Sommers and
Rulebook for Arguments by Weston.