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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.

Enrolment Requirement: You must have GWAR certification before Fall 2009; or WPJ score of 80 or above; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W + co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70/71 + co-enrollment in ENGL 109X.

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/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 Blackboard 9.1. 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.

Regarding accessing Blackboard with mobile devices, please review the following information here.

Course Material


Resources & Interests

Syllabus (pdf)
All readings are available on-line in Blackboard 9.1 (no text to buy).
Grading Policy
Course Policies
Department Writing Guide

All essays, assignments, and discussion topics are available and will be submitted via Blackboard 9.1.


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

Updated: 22 August, 2012