Philosophy | Introduction to Philosophy
P140 | 3356 | Kesler


In this introductory course, we will discuss classical ethical theories (such as
those of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill) and applied ethical practices and
problems (such as abortion, world poverty, and other issues of the students'
choosing).

We will ask such questions as (1) why should a person be moral?  (2) Are there
objective moral principles which make an action good or bad?  (3) Are all ethical
judgments mere opinions, relative to our private wants or principles of our
culture?  (4) If there are objective moral principles, are they rooted in a virtuous
character, in reasoning about what is good "in-itself," and/or in calculating what
will bring about the greatest amount of happiness?  (5) Can literary narratives
and analogies help us to see ethical situations from different perspectives?  (6)
How can these reflections inform our thinking about concrete issues of current
social policy?

Students will have ample opportunity to develop, articulate, and reflect upon their
own ethical thinking and sensibilities through small group discussions, class
debates, personal interviews, and/or service learning projects within the
community.  Assignments will be frequent, but quite manageable in scope and in
length.

Required texts: Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life by Sommers and A Rulebook for
Arguments by Weston.