Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elizabeth A. Scarbrough
PHIL 241
Seattle Campus

Topics in Ethics

Introduction to ethics through in-depth study of one or more selected topics (e.g., limits of moral community, animal rights, moral education, and freedom). Topics vary.

Class description

Topics in Ethics: The Intersection of Ethics and Aesthetics. The focus of this course is on the interplay/intersection of ethics and aesthetics. This is a 200 level course; although no previous instruction in ethics or aesthetics is required, familiarity with normative ethics and/or aesthetics is helpful. At least one previous course in philosophy is recommended. The course will begin with an introduction to normative ethics, with a focus on how to apply these ethical constructs to issues in aesthetics. We will briefly discuss: Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Virtue Ethics, and Pluralism. After our unit on normative ethics, we will turn to the following issues in aesthetics: issues in public art (Should tax dollars be spent on public art? Can we destroy works of public art? What should the aim of public art be?), ethical issues in kitsch & sentimentality (Do sentimental or kitschy artworks engage us in morally bad forms of self-deception?), fakes & forgeries (Is the fact that an artwork is a forgery merely a moral flaw in its creation, or is it also an aesthetic flaw?), and the moral criticism of art (Are artworks immune from moral criticism? Can artworks that depict morally bad content have positive aesthetic value?). There will be several short writing assignments, a midterm and a final.

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 Annette R. Bernier
Date: 11/12/2009