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PHIL 152: Recent Ethical Theory

Class Meetings: MW 12:00-1:15pm, DH 208

January February March April May

All assignments are due on the dates indicated in RED.
All readings will be discussed in class during the week indicated in this schedule.
All assigned readings should be completed IN ADVANCE of discussion in class.

Have Fun!

Week Date Day Classroom Events
1 26 Mon Course preview and student introductions.
28 Wed Philosophical Ethics Review
Read: Material in "Ethics: The Basics" Folder, SacCT
2 Mon

Section I/ Contemporary Normative and Meta-Ethics

Moral Theory and Concepts
Read: Frankena, “The Concept of Morality,” Baier, “Extending the Limits of Moral Theory,” Held, “Moral Subjects: the Natural and the Normative.”

4 Wed Continued.
3 9 Mon

Read: Kagan, “The Structure of Normative Ethics,” Rawls, “The independence of Moral Theory.”

11 Wed Continued.
4 16 Mon

Why Meta-Ethics Matters
Read: Olafson, “Meta-Ethics and the Moral Life,” Taylor, “The Function of Meta-Ethics” (Reply to Olafson).

18 Wed Continue.
5 23 Mon Read: Mothersill, “Moral Philosophy and Meta-Ethics,” Sumner, “Normative Ethics and Meta-Ethics,” Macklin, “Moral Progress.”
25 Wed Continued.
2 Mon

Section II / Non-Cognitivisms

Moral Skepticism and Error Theory: Ooops…

Read: Mackie, from Ethics (1977), Tolhurst, “The Argument from Moral Disagreement”

Essay #1 On Normative and Meta-ethics, due Monday at noon (submit in SacCT).

4 Wed Continued.
7 9 Mon

Emotivism: Ouch, bad….Mmmmm, good.
Read: Ayer, “Critique of Ethics and Theology,” Harrison, “Can Ethics Do Without Propositions?” Blackstone, “Objective Emotivism”

11 Wed Continued.
8 16 Mon

Intuitions: Seems to me….
Read: Strawson, “Ethical Intuitionism,” Fuss, “Conscience,”

18 Wed Continued.
9 23 Mon

Read: Audi, “Kantian Intuitionism,” McNaughton, “An Unconnected Heap of Duties,”

25 Wed Continued.
10 30 Mon


11 6

Section III/ Cognitivisms

Let’s be Reasonable: Do we have to?

Read: Korsgaard, “Skepticism about Practical Reason,” Singer, “Freedom from Reason,” Phillips, “Why Be Reasonable?”

Essay #2 On Forms of Non-Cognitivism, Due Monday at Noon (submit in SacCT).

8 Wed Continued.
12 13 Mon

Objectivity and Moral Prescriptions: So it is written…
Read: Wellman, “Emotivism and Objectivity,” Hare, “Objective Prescriptions,” Ehman, “Moral Objectivity”

15 Wed Continued.
13 20 Mon

Read: Tannoch-Bland, “From Aperspectival Objectivity to Strong Objectivity,” Sen, “Positional Objectivity”

22 Wed Continued.
14 27 Mon

Moral Realism and Moral Senses: Oh, there it is…
Read: Dancy, “Two Conceptions of Moral Realism,” Foot, “Moral Realism and Moral Dilemma,”

29 Wed Continued.
15 4 Mon Read: Werner, “Ethical Realism,” Postow, “Werner’s Ethical Realism,” Werner, “Ethical Realism Defended.”
6 Wed Continued.
16 11 Mon Review and...
13 Wed


Week 17 (Exam Week)           Essay #3 On Cognitivisms, Due Monday, May 18th at noon. Time certain deadline, no extensions, no exceptions.

Last updated: 01/22/2009