This course is an introduction to philosophical ethics. The term “ethics” can be distinguished into a broad and a narrow sense. In the narrow (and more familiar) sense, ethics is concerned only with “moral” questions and issues, which involve the notions of rightness, wrongness, rights, duties, obligations, praiseworthiness, blameworthiness, etc. In the broad sense, ethics is concerned with normative questions of all kinds, including moral ones (e.g., “How should one live?,” “Are we under an obligation in this situation?,” “Do I have any reason to feel this way?,” “Is having false beliefs a bad thing?”).
Our primary concern in this course will be ethics in the broad sense, with particular focus on the question of how one should live. We will explore and critically evaluate some influential ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics. In the process, we will attempt to gain greater insight into how normative questions should be settled.
One philosophy introduction.