Ethics • PHIL2306

This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic framework of the key ethical models from classical and contemporary Western philosophy.

We will begin by grounding our ethics, looking at two contractual ethical approaches: those founded on a contract with a divine influence and those founded on a contract with society. Then we will examine two absolutist approaches: one that primarily relies on our moral duties to make ethical decisions and the other than focuses on the consequences of our actions. In our third module, we will examine theories that consider multiple factors such as virtue ethics and care ethics. Finall, we will end with contemporary ethical questions. Is it right to look out for #1? How can I possibly judge another person/culture/etc.?


Module I. Grounding our Ethics

  • Week 1: What is Morality?
  • Week 2: God & Nature
    • Divine Command Theory | Theory of Natural Law
  • Week 3: The Social Contract
    • Social Contract Theory
  • Week 4: Paper I

Module II. Absolutism: Rules & Consequences

  • Week 5: Universal Rules
    • Deontology
  • Week 6: Paper II
  • Week 7: Consequences
    • Utilitarianism
  • Week 8: Paper III

Civil Rights March
Selma, March 1965

Module III. Pluralism: Character & Care

  • Week 9: Ethical Pluralism
    • Pluralism
  • Week 10: Virtue
    • Virtue Ethics
  • Week 11: Care
    • Care Ethics
  • Week 12: Paper VI

Module IV. Contemporary Ethical Questions

  • Week 13: Altruism & Greed
    • Ethical Egoism
  • Week 14: On Moral Relativism
    • Cultural Relativism | Ethical Subjectivism
  • Week 15: Paper V