Philosophy | Introduction to Ethics
P140 | 4555 | Farin
Everyone will readily agree that it is of the highest importance to know whether
we are not duped by morality. (Levinas)
What does it mean to be moral? Isn't morality just a trick to make us do things
we really do not want to do? Why should one be just? Is morality based on
reason, or calculation, or feeling, or character? To what end does one study
morality? In this introductory course we shall discuss the various models,
sources, goals, dangers, and fragilities of morality as laid out by different moral
philosophers, writers, sociologists, and psychologists.
As hands-on moral philosophers we shall not only analyze and discuss texts, but
also devise our own just and fair rules for our class. This we shall do behind the
veil of ignorance (as is befitting to philosophers!). In addition, there will be room
for moral experiments inside and outside the class. The course is designed to
enhance our capacity to articulate and relate our own ethical sensibilities to those
of others. If we can agree on this, there will be two tests, two short papers, a few
very short quizzes or assignments, and one group project.
Prerequisites: 1) Experience in moral and immoral behavior, 2) An open mind.
Text: Christina and Fred Sommers, Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life, 4th ed.