Ethics addresses puzzling questions about right and wrong, and good and evil. This course will introduce normative ethics, meta-ethics, bioethics, and professional ethics. We will begin by examining certain problems that arise when we try to make moral judgments. These problems include cultural relativism ('What's right for us is not necessarily right for them'), subjectivism ('What's right for me is not necessarily right for you'), and the role of religion in morality (e.g., 'What's right is just what God says is right'). Secondly, we will consider historically important and still-prominent theories that purport to provide systematic procedures for making decisions about right and wrong (e.g., virtue ethics, consequentialism, deontology, and contractarianism). Thirdly, we will examine how moral and meta-ethical theories handle controversial moral dilemmas such as cultural conflicts, abortion, Aboriginal justice, and the morality of war. Students will develop their capacity to analyse ethical problems, criticize and construct ethical arguments, and present their views in clearly written argumentative essays. The unit will prepare students to confront with a critical mind the difficult moral questions that we all encounter in our social and professional lives.
Semester 2 | 2018
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