Philosophy | Introduction to Ethics
P140 | 19774 | Yahng


Be nice to your sister.  Help your neighbor.  Keep your promises.
Don't ever lie.  Lies are ok if they save someone's feelings.  You
have to look out for Number One.  Remember to pick up the dry
cleaning.  Don't stir your tea with your steak knife.  Do the right
thing.  Recommendations, commands, and obligations seem to pervade
our lives.  Some seem specifically to do with morality, right and
wrong, good and bad; some,  less so.  Some seem to have the force of
a kind of necessity; some, less so.  In this class, we will explore
the nature of those claims that seem to have the force of morality.
Some themes of this class:  What makes right actions right?  What
does it mean to call something or someone "good"?  What
does "morality" tell me to do?  Is it just my culture or upbringing
speaking?  Or perhaps my own prudential self-interest?  Why should I
do as morality instructs?  In what sense "must" I do it?  And are
moral claims justified anyway?   We will cover three major ethical
theories, Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism, and Kantianism, and finish
with a consideration of applied ethics topics such as cloning,
consumerism, war and intervention, and vegetarianism.