Explores central themes in ethics, such as what our most fundamental obligations are, using the tools of philosophical argument and analysis. Content, readings, and assignments vary by section and instructor.
Dates: May 22 to June 16, 2023; No more than two distinct 02X classes may apply to a major, though additional ones may be taken for credit; Asynchronous online course
This course offers an introduction to ethics, with emphasis on moral theories which aim to explain what makes an action morally right or wrong. Theories discussed include cultural relativism (Is morality relative to a culture?), utilitarianism (Is morality of an action determined by its consequences?), Kantian ethics (Is morality of an action determined by reason and moral rules?). We will also learn about deductive arguments, including moral arguments, and common errors in reasoning. In the second part of the course, we will apply moral reasoning to issues concerning environment (Should we protect nature solely for the sake of our well-being, or does nature have value in and of itself?) and non-human animals (Do animals have rights?).
You should expect to put about 3 hours of work into this course per day on average. This includes time to read the assignments and find answers to the study questions, time to participate in the Yellowdig discussion platform, and time for drafting and revising papers. Some days may require more and some less, but the work requirements will be significant and we will move very quickly through the material.
The final grade will be based on two papers, two writing assignments about moral arguments, and weekly Yellowdig assignments.
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Note: These dates may change before registration begins.
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