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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael Rosenthal
PHIL 342
Seattle Campus

History of Modern Ethics

Development of moral thought from Hobbes through Nietzsche, with particular emphasis on the ethical writings of Hume, Kant, and John Stuart Mill.

Class description

We will study the development of modern ethical philosophy with an emphasis on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among the questions we will consider are: What is the source of value? What is the role of self-interest in ethics and how do we define it? What role does knowledge play in ethical action? Are humans naturally social or not? We will start with selections from Montaigne and consider the influence of skepticism and the new sciences on ethics. Then we will examine texts from four distinct schools of thought: 1) natural law theorists; 2) the rationalists; 3) epicureans and egoists; and 4) those who advocate autonomy as the basis of value, culminating in the work of Kant." TEXT: "Moral Philosophy from Montaigne to Kant", J.B. Schneewind.

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General method of instruction

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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: 01/31/2013