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Instructor-specific Course Descriptions

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Fall 2020

PHIL 450/542 ETHICAL THEORY :: CURETON
This will be a seminar on contemporary moral theory in which we read and discuss some of the seminal papers in moral theory over the last 100 or so years, including ones by G.E. Moore, W.D. Ross, Philippa Foot, Bernard Williams, and Susan Wolf.  Questions we will address include: What is the nature of value, right action, virtue, ideals, and reasons?  What are moral judgments and how, if at all, can we justify them?  What, if any, role can moral theory add to our understanding of morality and how, if at all, should we go about formulating ethical theories?  And what are some of the main objections to utilitarianism and what can they tell us about various aspects of the moral life, such as friendship and integrity?

PHIL 601/626 :: GARTHOFF
This course is a survey of ethical theory and political philosophy, using John Rawls's A Theory of Justice as its principal text. Topics will include: how philosophical method bears on leading theoretical approaches, including intuitionism and utilitarianism; theories of the human good and its relation to reasons and desires; moral obligation and its relation to political obligation; cognitive development and moral learning; liberty and its relation to other social goods; and oppositions between capitalism and socialism.


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