Janice E. Moskalik
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.
Retribution and forgiveness are often seen as directly contrary to one another, as in the descriptions “an eye for an eye” and “turn the other cheek.” Each is a possible response to wrongdoing. But what, exactly, do we mean by “retribution” and “forgiveness”? And what are we to think about the moral appropriateness of each response? Is one of them right and the other wrong? If so, is one always right and the other always wrong? Or does the morally appropriate response in a given case depend upon the facts of that case? Or can either of retribution or forgiveness be an appropriate response to a particular wrongdoing? Or is neither one ever a morally appropriate way to respond to wrongdoing?
In this course, we will consider some of the different philosophical conceptions of retribution – or attitudes in favor of retribution, such as a desire for revenge – and forgiveness, and as well some of the philosophical arguments for and/or against some of those conceptions as morally appropriate responses to wrongs.
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Class assignments and grading