Ethics • PHIL2306

This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic framework of the key ethical models from classical and contemporary Western philosophy.

The course will begin with an explanation of morality. Whether morality can be derived solely from our own experience, our particular society, or a higher power. Is it moral to be selfish? What is the relationship between the individual in society, her freedoms, and the social authorities above her? Are there practical, non–religious reasons pushing us to be moral in society? What if we set aside the rules and just focused on the consequences of our actions—might that produce the happiest society? We will also take a critical look at what is meant by human dignity, and what that has to do with justice.

Finally, we will look at ethical frameworks built around universal laws, prioritizing those you care for, and on simply aiming to be a virtuous person. While most of these might sound like good ideas, the truth is, they are often in conflict with one another. We will discuss those conflicts while we investigate the strengths and weaknesses of each framework in turn.


Unit I. Grounding our Ethics

Unit II. The Individual

Civil Rights March
Selma, March 1965

Unit III. The Group

Unit IV. Critical Questions in Ethics

*These are the 3 Major fields of Ethics: Virtue Ethics, Deonology, and Utilitarianism