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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Paul L. Franco
PHIL 240
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Ethics

Critical introduction to various philosophical views of the basis and presuppositions of morality and moral knowledge. Critical introduction to various types of normative ethical theory, including utilitarian, deontological, and virtue theories.

Class description

Ethical questions cover a wide variety of moral concerns. What sorts of things really matter in life: pleasure, family, money, all or none of these? Suppose you could get away with stealing something you wanted without anyone noticing. Are there good reasons for not stealing it? Would it be okay for us to sacrifice the happiness, rights, or lives of a few people, if that sacrifice meant that many, many more people would be happy? What does it mean to be a moral person and to adopt a moral theory? In this class, we’ll look at ethical theories that provide a philosophical framework from which to answer these and other types of ethical questions. We’ll begin with questions about the conditions for living a good, flourishing life. From there, we’ll consider questions about the nature of right and wrong and the sources of moral worth and value. Finally, we’ll the end the class by considering some topics from applied ethics, the field that attempts to apply our more general moral theories to specific issues including, but not limited to abortion, animal rights, and the moral responsibilities of scientists.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Paul L. Franco
Date: 02/03/2014