Jason D. Benchimol
Critical examination of the concepts and judgments of value, including an analytical treatment of the notions of good and bad, right and wrong, and obligation. Emphasis varies from quarter to quarter.
This course will focus on contemporary discussions of some important issues in philosophical ethics. These issues include questions about the nature and possibility of objective truth in ethics, the relation between "rational" action and "moral" action, the reason-giving and motivating force of moral judgments, and the aims and authority of moral theory. We will read articles and parts of books, mainly by contemporary philosophers, in which these questions are analyzed and systematic arguments are offered for particular answers to them. The aim of the course is to help you to understand these arguments and, by examining them, to refine your own understanding of the questions. If successful, the course will (1) increase your understanding of these philosophical issues and give you the necessary background to engage with the contemporary literature on these topics; (2) enhance your ability to read and critically evaluate philosophical texts; and (3) improve your philosophical writing skills. TEXT: Moral Discourse and Practice, Stephen Darwall, Allan Gibbard, and Peter Railton, eds.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading