PHIL 412 B: Ethical Theory

Meeting Time: 
TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
HSE E216
Nancy S. Jecker

Additional Details:

This course introduces students to some of the most influential ethical theories to date and, with a critical eye, studies the source and ground of their influence.  Among the theories we discuss are classical and contemporary utilitarianism, perfectionism, ethical egoism, and Kantian ethics.  In the course of studying these theories, we discuss questions such as the following.  How do we avoid the conclusion that ethical standards are just a matter of cultural or individual opinion?  Is it always morally preferable to perform whatever action produces the best consequences?  What reason can anybody have for being moral rather than just giving the appearance of being moral when that serves one's own purposes?  Readings are from historically prominent philosophers, such as Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche, and Kant, as well as contemporary authors. Joint w/B H 502.

TEXT: All readings are available online. There are no required textbooks.

Catalog Description: 
Studies the major normative ethical theories, including both teleological and deontological approaches. Emphasizes moral philosophy during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as contemporary commentary. Offered: jointly with B H 402.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:07pm