PHIL 160 - Moral Principles and Problems
Fall 2016, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Details

Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Description

This course introduces students to principles of moral philosophy, and provides them with an opportunity to apply what they learn to the ethical questions we face in life. The overarching goal is to give students the conceptual resources they need to think about difficult and controversial ethical issues in a systematic and critical way. The lecture portion of the course will provide a systematic introduction to moral theory, aimed at equipping students with the concepts and tools needed to analyze moral problems and develop their own moral positions. The primary focus will be normative ethics, that is, philosophical theories about the nature and principles of moral rightness and wrongness. The dominant active traditions in normative ethics — natural rights theory, social contract theory, and consequentialism — will be given extensive treatment, though we will also discuss egoism, divine command theories, virtue theories, and moral particularism. Some topics from meta-ethics will also be discussed, in particular relativism, subjectivism vs. objectivism, non-cognitivism vs. realism, and the relation of morality to rationality. Throughout an effort will be made to tie questions in ethics to empirical issues in psychology, social and political theory, and anthropology, as well as questions in decision theory and game theory. Each discussion section will focus on a distinct area of applied ethics of contemporary concern. Discussion section leaders will seek both to ensure that students understand and can apply the contents of the lectures, and to introduce them to additional material — empirical, normative, and conceptual — that pertains to the section’s special topic.

Sections 002 & 003.
Our beliefs about moral matters have changed over time. Recent history is filled with instances of pernicious institutions enjoying popular support — with slavery being the most glaring example of this. Today it seems obvious that such practices are profoundly wrong, and that those who thought otherwise were mistaken. In this section we will entertain the possibility that we are similarly mistaken in many of our own beliefs and practices. Using the theoretical tools acquired in lecture, we will evaluate some of our current views, and consider whether we are making any grave moral errors in our day to day lives. We will also entertain some questions in moral epistemology, including: What makes a moral view reasonable? How should we adjudicate disagreements about moral matters? Is moral knowledge possible?

Sections 004 & 005.
In this section, we will be looking at a range of interesting ethical questions having to do with the psychological and the psychiatric. As we learn about various ethical theories in the lecture portion of the class, we will try to deepen our understanding of these theories by applying them to issues such as: the ethics of suicide, the ethics of using drugs to improve one’s mood or cognitive abilities, and the ethics of creating stressful work environments (e.g., is it ethical for institutions such as schools, businesses, or hospitals to create work environments that lead to increased rates of burnout, depression, or anxiety?). These questions may be especially intriguing to students interested in pre-med/pre-health, psychology, business, or related fields.

Course Requirements:

2 quizzes, 2 tests, 2 papers, midterm & final. To ensure learning through discussion, attendance will be required.

Intended Audience:

Freshmen and Sophomores from all academic areas.

Class Format:

2 hours/week lecture format; 2 hours/week discussions led by GSIs.

Schedule

PHIL 160 - Moral Principles and Problems
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
21701
Open
1
 
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
002 (DIS)
 In Person
21702
Closed
0
 
-
MW 2:00PM - 3:00PM
003 (DIS)
 In Person
22171
Closed
0
 
-
MW 3:00PM - 4:00PM
004 (DIS)
 In Person
22172
Closed
0
 
-
MW 4:00PM - 5:00PM
005 (DIS)
 In Person
27238
Open
1
 
-
MW 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)