Paul L. Franco
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.
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.
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