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PHIL 112 History of Ethics


Catalogue Description
Investigation of the main approaches to ethics in Western moral philosophy. Emphasis on Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant and Mill.

Approved for the Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies Program.

Approved for the Writing Intensive requirement.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Writing Placement Exam for Juniors or ENGL 109W/109M. Absolutely no exceptions.

Course Description
This course offers students an overview and introduction to the philosophical study of ethics. Several questions will form the focus for the semester's study. These include: Are values relative to cultures, societies or individuals, or do some transcend these differences? Are values subjective and emotional or are they objective and rational? What is the relation between facts and values, values and principles or rules, and actions? How can we live good lives and be good people?

Please be aware this is a writing intensive course. Students should be prepared to write significant amounts of cogent and clear text on often difficult conceptual material. As there are several substantial required essays for this course, you should anticipate writing at least one essay every two or three weeks.

This course includes a substantial on-line component via WebCT. This will require you to have regular and reliable access to computing facilities. It is also recommended that students regularly bring their laptops and assigned readings to all class meetings.

Course Material


Resources & Interests

Syllabus (pdf)
All READINGS are available on-line in SacCT (no text to buy).
Grading Policy
Course Policies
Department Writing Guide

All essays, assignments, and discussion topics are available on-line in SacCT.

Center for Practical and Professional Ethics
Philosophy News: NY Times
Philosophy Talk Radio
Philosophy Now
Stanford Encyc of Philosophy
Internet Encyc of Philosophy

Updated: 21 January, 2010