PHIL 281

Moral Philosophy

This is a course in ethical theory - the attempt to provide a systematic account of our beliefs about what is right and wrong, good and bad. The course pursues answers to questions like the following: What makes for a good life? What, if anything, is of value? What is the nature of morality? What does morality require? To what extent and in what circumstances are we responsible for fulfilling moral demands? Should we care about moral requirements and, if so, why? Does being moral lead to a happy life? Is there a connection between morality and freedom? In addition to a careful study of various classic views, we will consider recent defenses and critiques of these views. Readings are drawn from historical authors like Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Mill, and Nietzsche, and contemporary authors like Williams, Scheffler, Korsgaard, Singer, Stocker, Baron, and Wolf.