PHILOS 120 - Introduction to Ethics - Andrew Jones-Cathcart
|Course:||Introduction to Ethics|
Note: This is not a complete syllabus. It contains learning outcome information, as well as information about the textbook and the course content. The full syllabus will be available when the class begins.
PHILOS 120, INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Dr. Andrew Jones-Cathcart
College of the Canyons
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"Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education."
This course introduces students to ethics, the philosophical study of morality. Ethics seeks to understand what morality is and how we ought to go about making moral decisions. For these reasons, an introductory course in ethics tries to answer the following sorts of questions:
- What makes an action or a person moral?
- Are there objective moral values on which we can all agree, or do moral values depend entirely on our culture, history, or personal preference?
- Can it ever be right or wrong to judge someone else? Do others have the right to judge us?
- Can any decision be absolutely right or wrong?
- Do I have ethical responsibilities to other people? Do others have ethical responsibilities to me?
- Is it ever right to be selfish?
- Do we have a responsibility to future generations? Does it matter what happens after we die?
- Do animals have rights? Do we have a duty to act in certain ways toward them?
- Do the consequences of an action make it right? (Do the ends justify the means?)
- Is an action right because it is commanded by God?
- Can one be moral without God?
- What is the relationship between law and morality?
This course attempts to answer these sorts of questions through the use of lectures, classroom discussions, critical writing and readings. To this end, we shall study the key concepts and theories in ethics in detail. These concepts and theories include, but are by no means limited to, relativism, egoism, utilitarianism, deontological ethics, natural law, and virtue-based ethics. Studying these concepts and theories will give us a general framework for coming to grips with particular issues of interest to contemporary ethicists. Specific issues typically dealt with in this course include terrorism, pornography, censorship, abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, job discrimination, and animal or environmental rights.
Our main goal is not necessarily to discover the right answers to particular moral problems, e.g. whether or not abortion is morally justifiable; instead, we shall strive to gain a more heightened, reflective awareness of what is at stake when we are faced with moral problems and to learn how we might go about justifying the kinds of choices we might decide to make in response to these challenging moral problems.
Sandel, Michael. Justice: What is the Right Thing to Do? Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2010. 978-0374532505
Other readings will be accessible as on-line links.
Overall Student Learning Outcome
Identify important moral problems, articulate the morally significant aspects of such problems, and apply philosophical concepts from major ethical theories in order to analyze the strength of competing solutions to such problems.
1) Describe the basic method of inquiry used in philosophy, and apply this method in the investigation of the problems of moral philosophy.
2) Evaluate the adequacy of competing moral theories.
3) Articulate and offer justification for their moral reasoning on contemporary ethical issues that are prominent in the newspapers, media, and the culture at-large.
4) Employ philosophical concepts from major ethical theories in order to analyze and evaluate viewpoints and assumptions.
What to Expect in this Course
Types of Assessments
Generally, we will have several timed tests consisting of written and multiple-choice questions, as well as various written assignments, including discussions.
Textbook Information / Link to ZTC Textbook
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Last updated: 05/21/2021 Sub#: 12