Ethics is broadly concerned with questions of how one ought to live. In this introductory course we will reflect on the moral and prudential aspects of ethics. First, we will look at some of the main theories of morally right conduct, including theories of utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics and feminist ethics. In the second part of the course we will consider the sorts of things that constitute a life well lived, such as moral perfection, desire-satisfaction, pleasure, and objective well-being
By the end of the course, students will gain:
- an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of some of the problems that arise in ethics
- the ability to deploy the philosophical techniques and argumentative strategies that can be used to discuss those problems
- the ability to explain the strengths and weaknesses of different positions in ethics
- the transferable skill of formulating and evaluating arguments for and against various positions in ethics, both orally and in writing
Two-year Philosophy MA students will be formatively assessed during the Fall term with two position papers, 500-800 words in length. These students will be summatively assessed with an in-class written final exam, taken as part of the Theoretical and Practical Philosophy exam scheduled for the end of Spring term. Exam questions will be provided to students at the end of the Fall term.
All other students taking the class for credit must submit a 2,500 word final paper on a topic agreed to in advance with the instructor. These students will be formatively assessed with an essay plan due week 10 of the Fall term.
Though the class grade is based on the final paper or exam, all course requirements (see syllabus attached) must be completed in a satisfactory manner in order to earn a grade for the class. A student's final grade may be adjusted by half a grade depending on their overall performance.